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rrjuu  o j 'J  UU'J  U jUUIAAAA.  iAruwvvuv\^^  u vu  w u u o wu \jvj\j\j  u u'CVi'  uu  u 


ONE  OF  THE  REPORTERS  OF  THAT  PAPER. 


| DUBLIN: 

W.  LOWE,  PRINTER,  6,  LOWER  ABBEY-STREET. 
1846. 


SM  IN  IRELAND. 


M 


LETTERS  ON  THE 


OF  THE 


GERRARD  TENANTRY. 


A PORTION  V WHICH  APPEARED  ORIGINALLY 


" FREEMAN’S  JOURNAL.” 


LANDLORDISM  IN  IRELAND. 


LETTERS  ON  THE  EVICTION 


OF  THE 


GERRARD  TENANTRY. 

A PORTION  OF  WHICH  APPEARED  ORIGINALLY 


IN  THE 

“ FREEMAN’S  JOURNAL.” 


BY  S.  REDMOND, 

ONE  OF  THE  REPORTERS  OF  THAT  PAPER. 


DUBLIN : 

W.  LOWE,  PRINTER,  6,  LOWER  ABBEY-STREET. 
1846. 


i 


! 


I;'u # Q5-2.&/X 
Msiuaiistliis  Prasaralson  Project 


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fzvTi 


DEDICATION. 


TO 

THE  TENANT  FAEMEES  OF  IRELAND, 

'E'ESEiJ  {HUBEI!  f!  ©IF  SIiOTF2II£{iJ  E§5  3M2&E@Mni3©o 

The  object  they  were  intended  to  accomplish  was  the  ex- 
posure of  the  grievances  to  which  under  the  present  law  of 
Landlord  and  Tenant  in  Ireland,  the  Tenant  occupiers  may 
be  subjected  at  the  pleasure  of  their  Landlords. 

If  the  facts  herein  contained  shall  to  any  extent  facilitate 
the  removal  of  the  terrible  evils  herein  exposed,  then  these 
papers  shall  not  have  been  written  in  vain,  for  then  they 
will  have  realised  the  best  and  sincerest  wishes  of  the 
gentlemen  at  whose  instance  they  were  undertaken  as  well 
as  of 

MSI!  WIES^HIEo 


' 

?'lf 

. 

: ■;  - - ^ 

' 

• ? ; ■ ::-n  hi  y ,v’ 


INTRODUCTION. 


The  greater  portion  of  the  statements  contained 
in  the  following  Letters,  have  already  appeared  in 
the  columns  of  the  Freeman’s  Journal,  from 
whence  they  have  been  copied  into  every  News- 
paper in  the  Empire.  The  demands  upon  the 
space  of  a daily  publication,  as  well  as  other  con- 
siderations, rendered  necessary  the  curtailment  of 
many  details,  and  the  omission  of  many  others. 
Those  curtailments  and  omissions  the  writer  has 
now  supplied.  The  letters  are  here  presented 
to  the  public  just  as  the  writer  sketched  them,  with 
the  impressions  of  the  hour  freshly  imprinted  upon 
his  memory,  and  in  the  amplitude  which  at  the 
moment  he  deemed  necessary  to  convey  them. 
Although  therefore  there  is  not  any  topic  intro- 
duced which  has  not  already  been  produced  in 
the  pages  of  the  Journal  with  which  the  writer 
has  the  honour  to  be  connected,  still  it  is  hoped 
that  there  is  not  wanting  such  further  matter  as 
will  tend  to  impart  more  firmness  and  interest  to 
the  whole.  Many  over-kind  friends  have  suggested 
to  the  writer  that  these  letters  were  worthy  of  a 
more  solid  embodiment  than  the  columns  of  any 


VI 


INTRODUCTION. 


Journal,  however  popular  and  widely  circulated, 
could  afford  them.  However  he  may  have  felt 
flattered  by  such  appreciation,  fie  would  not  have 
attempted  a separate  publication  of  those  commu- 
nications, had  he  not  had  the  assent  and  approba- 
tion of  the  gentlemen  to  whose  earnest  patriotism 
the  country  is  indebted  for  the  exposures  they  con- 
tain ; nor  would  he  be  induced  by  any  contempla- 
tion of  the  eclat  or  emolument  to  himself  to  offer 
this  brochure  to  the  public,  did  he  not  hope  and 
feel  that  he  is  thereby  doing  a good  and  acceptable 
service  to  his  country.  Whatever  may  be  the 
value  of  the  service  which  the  succeeding  dis- 
closures of  the  spirit  and  the  acts  of  Irish  land- 
lordism shall  confer  upon  this  country,  and  he 
believes  it  is  not  easy  to  over-estimate  them,  the 
Nation  is  indebted  solely  and  exclusively  to  the 
energy,  the  liberality,  and  the  well-judging  patriot- 
ism of  the  Proprietors  of  the  Freeman’s  Journal  ; 
with  whose  views  it  is  the  proudest  tribute  to  the 
writer  that  he  was  chosen  to  co-operate. 


LETTERS  ON  THE  EVICTION 

OF  THE 

GERE  AED  TENANTRY. 


LETTER  I. 


Mount  Bellew,  county  Galway,  Wednesday 
Night,  25th  March,  1846. 

The  conduct  of  Mrs.  Gerrard  towards  her  tenantry  in  this 
county,  to  which  you  were  the  first  to  direct  metropolitan  at- 
tention, has  not  only  excited  deep  and  anxious  interest  through- 
out this  country,  but  through  the  United  Kingdom.  The  oc- 
casion on  which  you  deemed  it  necessary  to  despatch  me  to  this 
part  of  the  country  is  of  such  paramount  importance,  parti- 
cularly so  at  this  moment,  as  to  render  it  well  worthy  of  any 
labour  to  set  the  facts  properly  before  the  public,  however  in- 
adequate my  humble  ability  may  be  to  depict  the  scenes  of 
desolation  which  it  has  been  my  melancholy  lot  to  witness.  The 
case  is  one  of  a truly  painful  character  ; but  exordium  I shall 
not  use.  My  business  is  to  state  facts,  as  I have  found  them — to 
tell  the  truth  and  nothing  save  the  truth,  as  I myself  have  wit- 
nessed it — truth  corroborated  by  the  most  substantial  and  faith- 
worthy evidence — derived,  as  you  will  perceive,  from  parties  who 
could  not — who  would  not,  be  g;uilty  of  deceit  or  duplicity.  / Be- 
fore entering  into  a statement  of,  the  details,  I may  here  observe 
that  there  has  been  a mistake  in  reference  to  the  locality  where 
the  scenes  took  place  which  I am  about  to  lay — through  your  co- 
lumns— before  the  public.  It  was  generally  conceived  that  the 
theatre  of  this  wholesale  annihilation  of  human  dwellings  was  si- 
tuate in  the  county  of  Roscommon.  That  is  incorrect.  Still,  the 
mistake  was  natural,  as  no  particular  locale  was  mentioned,  and 
as  the  first  intimation  of  the  fact  was  conveyed  to  the  public 
through  the  Roscommon  Journal . It  is,  however,  situate  in 
the  county  of  Galway,  and  within  one  mile  of  the  town  from 
whence  I now  write.  In  order  to  particularise  the  spot  (for  it 
is  worthy  of  record),  I shall  describe  the  route  from  Roscom- 

B 


10 


mo h thither,  in  order  that  the  traveller  or  the  curious  may  be 
able  to  recognise  hereafter,  and  point,  not  to  “ the  deserted,” 
but  ruined  village  of  Ballinlass,  “ where  health  and  plenty 
cheered  the  labouring  swain,”  but  where  ruin,  wreck,  and  deso- 
lation now  reign  triumphant,  with  all  their  sable  and  dreary 
accessaries.  Leaving  Roscommon,  you  proceed,  by  the  Galway 
road,  through  a country  almost  entirely  composed  of  bog.  En 
route  you  pass  through  a small  but  neat  town,  called  Athleague, 
thence  to  Mount-Talbot,  the  residence  of  Mr.  Talbot,  where  you 
cross  the  river  Suck,  which  divides  the  counties  of  Roscommon 
and  Galway.  The  next  place  of  any  note  is  a pretty  town  called 
Bailygar,  seated  on  the  brow  of  a hill,  commanding  a fine  pros- 
pect, from  which  considerable  portions  of  the  fertile  commies 
above  mentioned  may  be  viewed  to  much  advantage  You 
thence  proceed  in  a direct  line  to  Ballinamore,  a small  village 
on  the  bank  of  the  river  Sheeven,  where  the  Hon.  Mr.  Ffrench 
has  a beautiful  seat.  Turning  to  the  right,  the  road  leads  along 
the  river  to  a small  place  formerly  called  Newbridge,  but  lat- 
terly known  as  Newtown- Gerrard,  in  honour  of  the  proprietrix, 
Mrs.  Gerrard.  This  was  at  one  period  a populous  place^but  the 
hand  of  the  spoiler  came,  and  the  evidences  of  his  progress  are 
unmistakeable,  and  are  here  in  ample  array  presented  to  the 
eye.  To  compensate  for  this  destruction,  Mrs.  Gerrard  has 
erected  a market-house,  which  is  without  merchandise,  neither 
buyer  or  seller  ever  appearing  there,  and  the  rusty  iron  trian- 
gle, with  mouldering  beam  and  scales  attached,  spe^eloquently 
of  the  neglected  state  of  this  “deserted  village.”  The  lady  also, 
with  a degree  of  carefulness  not  to  be  too  hi^Sy  estimated, 
erected  a large  and  very  beautiful  house,  which  she,  in  her 
wisdom,  deemed  fit  for  the  accommodation  of  twelve  police- 
men, but,  after  repeated  applications  to  government  for  a force 
to  the  above  extent,  she  was  refused,  and  the  building  stands 
now  a mere  monument  of  the  lady’s  munificence  of  intention, 
and,  no  doubt  will,  in  future  ages,  prove  as  great  puzzle  to 
the  antiquary  as  the  round  towers  of  other  days,  or  .the  present 
union  workhouses.  Mrs.  Gerrard  also  erected  here  a half  inn 
half  public  house,  which  is  kept  by  a person  named  Ginty,  who 
acts  in  the  united  capacities  of  steward,  overseer,  and  inn- 
keeper to  her  ladyship  ; I am  bound,  however,  to  say  that 
he  is  generally  considered  to  be  a respectable,  honest,  and  well- 
meaning  man.  In  view  of  this  place  there  is  a very  elegant 
lodge  raised  for  the  reception  of  Mrs.  Gerrard,  whenever  she 


11 


visits  that  portion  of  her  estates.  And  here  I may  remark,  ** 
that  her  “ broad  lands”  cover  a large  tract  of  country,  and* are  JL  / 
valued  at  over  5,000/.  a-year,  on  a moderate  estimate.  En  ^ 
passant , her  ladyship  and  her  husband  are  accounted  the  rich-  > w 
est  commoners  in  Connaught,  some  say  in  Ireland, — the  Dub-  ^ ^ ^ 
lin  and  Liverpool  markets  being  largely  supplied  with 
caj£le  reared  on  this  extensive  estate.  r*- 

As  the  public  mind  is  dwelling  fixedly  on  this  subject,  it  may 
ri&Fbe  inappropriate  to  state  that  Mrs.  Gerrard  possesses  this 
property  in  her  own  right,  it  having  come  into  her  possession 
on  the  death  of  her  brothers  many  years  since.  The  maiden 
name  of  this  lady  was  Netterville,  and  as  she  has  had  no  family, 
her  heirs  presumptive  are,  I am  given  to  understand,  Mr.  Cor- 
bally,  the  member  for  Meath,  and  Lord  Killeen,  son  of  Lord 
Fingal,  whose  mother  is  half-sister  to  Mrs.  Gerrard.  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Gerrard  reside  at  a place  called  Gibbstown,  in  the  county 
of  Meath  ; the  former  is  said  to  be  in  his  80th  year,  and  the 
latter  some  ten  years  his  junior.  It  has  been  stated  in  an 
evening  cotemporary  that  they  are  Catholics — this  is  a gross 
error.  /But  let  us  proceed  to  the  scene  of  ruin.  Leaving  New- 
town-Gerrard,  you  pass  along  to  the  left  of  the  river  Sheeven. 

On  the  road  to  Mount-Bellew,  and  about  a mile  from  that 
pretty  little  town,  the  first  sight  of  the  recent  scene  of  desola- 
tion presents  itself  to  view.  The  doomed  village  of  Ballin- 
lass,  parish  of  Kilascobe,  and  barony  of  Killy  on,  county  of 
Galway,  was  situate  here,  and  was  built  on  the  confines  of 
a bog,  which,  in  a great  measure,  had  been  reclaimed  by 
the  tenants  ; the  land,  particularly  at  the  rere  of  where  the 
houses  once  stood,  presenting  an  appearance  of  high  cultivation, 
which  was  produced  by  the  patient  and  hard  industry  of  the 
tenants,  who  are  now  scattered  over  the  face  of  the  country, 
without  a shelter  for  their  weary  and  time-worn  limbs,  save 
that  supplied  by  the  broad  canopy  of  heaven,  and  the  charity 
of  a fe^poor  people  in  the  neighbourhood  and  in  Mount 
Bellew.  I now  come  to  the  task,  which  of  all  others  I feel  my 
incapability  of  doing  justice  to,  or  even  conveying  a faint  out- 
line of— namely,  a description  of  the  scene  of  ruin  which  pre. 
sents  itself  to  the  view  of  the  astonished  beholder.  The  ap- 
proach to  the  village  was  by  a kind  of  road  or  togher , as  it  is 
called,  along  the  left  of  which  were  heretofore  a few  scattered 
houses.  About  a quarter  of  a mile  from  the  main  road  the 
houses  were  clustered  together  in  groups  of  three  or  four,  and 


12 


so  continued  at  short  distance  apart;  they  were  in  number  61, 
as  the  return  below  will  show  you.  Not  one  of  those  habita- 
tions is  now  standing  save  one,  and  you  will  presently  see  the 
reason  that  this  solitary  dwelling  is  still  permitted  to  remain. 
I went  through,  or  I should  rather  say  walked  over,  the  ruins 
of  all,  and  from  what  I saw  and  heard  I concluded  that  they 
were  all  comfortable,  clean,  and  neatly  kept  habitations,  with 
snug  kitchen  gardens  either  before  or  behind  them.  In  cor- 
roboration of  this  I have  had  the  evidence  of  Mr.  Mathew 
Donovan,  of  Ballygar,  by  whom  I was  accompanied,  and  who 
rendered  me  every  assistance,  and  afforded  me  most  important 
information  on  this  inquiry,  and  of  whose  merits,  as  a true 
patriot,  friend,  and  adviser  of  the  people  on  this  trying  occasion, 
I cannot  speak  in  terms  of  sufficient  praise.  Mr.  Donovan  has 
permitted  me  to  mention  his  name,  and  should  his  evidence  be 
required  he  is  willing  to  present  himself  for  examination 
before  any  tribunal,  as  he  was  an  eye-witness  of  the  facts 
which  I shall  detail.  /TL may  as  well  mention  here  that  two 
other  gentlemen,  whose  names  you  will  find  farther  on, 
have  given  me  similar  permission,  i.  e .,  to  say  tha^  they 
are  prepared  to  corroborate  the  facts  which  I detail.  /On  ap- 
proaching the  entrance  to  the  village  the  first  thing  tW  met 
my  eye  was  some  manure,  or  dung,  which  had  been  carried  away 
by  the  wretched  people  from  their  houses  and  thrown  on  the 
side  of  the  road,  in  order  to  prevent  it  from  becoming  the  pro- 
perty of  the  landlady  after  the  tenants  were  evicted.  Mr. 
Donovan,  who  witnessed  the  scene  which  took  place  on  Friday, 
the  13th  March,  1846,  describes  it  as  the  most  appalling  he 
had  ever  witnessed — women,  young  and  old,  running  wildly  to 
and  fro  with  small  portions  of  their  property,  in  order  to  save 
it  from  the  wreck — the  screaming  of  the  children,  and  wild 
wailings  of  the  mothers  driven  from  home  and  shelter — 
their  peaceful  homes,  hallowed  by  a thousand  fond  recollec- 
tions— all  combined  to  form  a picture  of  human  misery,  such 
as  the  darkest  imagination  alone  could  conceive.  At  an  early 
hour  on  the  morning  of  Friday,  the  13th  instant,  the 
sheriff,  accompanied  by  a large  force  of  the  49th  regiment,  com- 
manded by  Captain  Brown,  and  also  by  a heavy  body  of  police, 
under  the  command  of  Mr.  Cummings,  proceeded  to  the  place 
marked  out  for  destruction.  The  people  were  then,  according 
to  the  process  of  law  (I  could  not  procure  a copy  of  the  habere ,) 
called  on  to  render  possession,  and  forthwith  the  bailiffs  of 


13 


Mrs.  Gerrard  commenced  the  work  of  demolition.  In  the  first 
instance  the  roofs  and  portions  of  the  walls  were  only  thrown 
down ; the  former  in  most  instances  lie  on  the  side  of  the  road, 
on  the  manure  already  alluded  to^It  was  stated  in  the  original 
account,  ^published  in  the  Roscommon  Journal , that  a child  had 
been  killed  by  the  falling  of  a beam,  as  the  bailiff  would  not 
wait  until  the  boy  came  out  of  the  house,  but  I am  happy  to 
inform  you  that  this  is  a mistake.  The  boy  was  certainly 
hurt,  but  not  severely,  and  it  appears  he  was  son  to  one  of  the 
bailiffs,  not  to  a tenant,  and  that  the  transaction  was  purely 
accidental.  It  was  also  mentioned  that  a sick  man  had  been 
thrown  out  on  the  fields.  This  is  partly  incorrect,  the  facts 
being  as  follows : — -A  man  and  woman,  who  lay  ill  of  fever, 
were  permitted  to  remain  in  a house  into  which  they  were 
carried,  after  possession  of  it  had  been  taken,  and  this  is  the  soli* 
tary  house  remaining,  and  to  which  I have  already  alluded  ; but 
they  have  since  been  served  with  notice  to  leave  the  place  with- 
imfifteen  days  or  the  house  would  be  tumbled  on  top  of  them! 
This  information  was  given  me  by  a man  on  the  road,  in  pre- 
sence of  upwards  of  100  men  and  women,  who  all  stated  that 
it  was  a fact,  the  man  adding  “ I don’t  think,  sir,  the  poor  crea- 
tures unll  be  there  then,  for  I heard  the  people  who  are  attend- 
ing them  say  they  are  dying,  and  you  know  removing  them  in 
the  fever  was  enough  to  bring  that  about.”  After  this  neces- 
sary digression,  I shall  proceed,  step  by  step,  as  I now  come  to 
the  most  painful,  but  most  important  portion  of  the  mission 
with  which  you  have  honoured  me.  Mr.  Donovan  and  myself 
walked  through  the  ruins  of  every  house,  and  counted  them  to 
the  number  you  have  above.  Great  pains  must  have  been 
taken  to  demolish  the  houses,  as  the  walls  were  very  thick, 
and  composed  of  an  umber  clay,  and  when  the  inside  turned 
up  good  plaster  and  whitewash  always  appeared.  Not  content 
with  throwing  down  the  roofs  and  walls,  the  very  foundations 
have  been  razed ; and  here  I must  explain  what  a moment  ago 
I stated,  namely  that  only  a portion  of  the  walls  was  pulled 
down  in  the  first  instance.  That  is  true,  but  on  the  night 
of  Friday  the  wretched  creatures  pitched  a few  poles  slantwise 
against  the  walls,  covering  them  with  the  thatch  in  order  to 
procure  shelter  for  the  night ; but  when  this  was  perceived 
next  day,  the  bailiffs  were  dispatched  with  orders  to  pull  down 
all  the  walls  and  root  up  the  foundations  in  order  to  prevent  the 
4t  wretches”  (this  it  appears  is  a favourite  term  applied  to  these 

b 2 


14 


poor  people)  from  daring  to  take  shelter  amid  the  ruins. 
When  this  last  act  had  been  perpetrated,  the  ‘‘wretches’* 
took  to  the  ditches  on  the  high  road,  where  they  slept  in  parties 
of  from  ten  to  fifteen  each,  huddled  together  before  a fire  for 
the  two  succeeding  nights.  I saw  the  marks  of  the  fires  in  the 
ditches ; every  body  can  see  them,  and  the  temporary  shelter 
which  the  “ wretches”  (I  can’t  help  quoting  the  word  so  often) 
endeavoured  to  raise  round  them — these,  with  the  sticks  res- 
cued from  their  recent  dwellings,  the  thatch  and  the  dung 
remain  there  as  evidence  of  the  truth  of  my  statement.  It 
was  a melancholy  sight — but  more  particularly  so,  amongst 
the  ruins.  Here  a broken  chair,  there  a smashed  pot,  crockery- 
ware,  remnants  of  old  dressers,  boxes,  and  tables,  together 
with  broken  farming  implements,  and  a hundred  other  articles 
belonging  to  husbandry  and  household  purposes,  lay  about  the 
gardens  of  the  houses  (that  had  been),  or  the  fields  adjoining. 
Having  satisfied  myself  as  to  facts,  I returned  to  the  road, 
through  the  fields  which  lie  to  the  south  of  the  village,  and 
which  formed  a portion  of  the  farms  attached.  As  I before 
stated,  the  land  is  very  good,  but  I am  told  it  was  the  people 
who  made  it  so.  The  whole  extent  of  ground  connected  with 
the  village  is  over  400  acres.  It  may  be  some  acres  more  or 
less ; but  I believe  from  the  best  information  that  this  will  be 
found  about  the  number  of  acres  which  Mrs.  Gerrard  has  re- 
covered, and  over  which  her  fat  bullocks  may  now  roam  with- 
out a solitary  hut  to  intercept  them.  I turned  away,  almost 
sick  at  what  I had  seen,  and  reached  the  road,  where  I found 
a large  number  of  people,  both  male  and  female,  collected 
about  our  driver,  who  remained  with  the  vehicle.  They  all 
flocked  around  us  on  our  return,  ajnjL  oneyery  intelligent  v^ung  /• 
man  addressed  us  as  follows : — Ljj 

Well,  gentlemen,  did  you  ever  see  the  like  of  that  before? 
Never  (I  replied) ; and  I hope  I never  shall  again. 

Then,  sir,  you  don’t  intend  to  stop  long  in  this  part  of  the 
county  Galway ; for  if  you  did,  you’d  soon  see  these  two  villages 
(pointing  to  two  villages,  as  he  spoke,  that  lay  about  a mile 
and  a-half,  or  two  miles  off,  in  an  easterly  direction)  in  the 
same  way. 

Who  is  the  proprietor  of  those?  Mrs.  Gerrard,  sir,  and 
she  has  served  one  of  them  with  the  notices,  and  the  other  is 
warned  to  be  ready. 

Whose  tenant  are  you  ? Mr.  Cheevers’,  sir,  long  life  to  him, 
that  never  turned  out  a poor  man  or  a widow  woman ; but 


15 


if  any  of  his  people  were  troubled  with  hardship  or  distress, 
he’s  the  one  himself,  and  his  lady  that  would  come  and  relieve 
them. 

Who  is  Mr.  Cheevers,  and  where  does  he  live  ? Down  there, 
sir ; his  land  runs  along  the  river  until  you  come  to  the  clear- 
ing of  Mrs.  Gerrards’  land. 

Well,  were  you  here  when  the  houses  were  thrown  down.  In 
throth  I was,  your  honour,  and  I never  saw  the  like  of  it. 

Well,  tell  us  something  about  it?  Well,  sir,  when  the 
Peelers  and  soldiers  came,  the  sheriff  and  the  bailiffs  turned 
oat  the  creatures ; and  then,  such  bawling  and  screaming  of 
women,  children,  and  old  men,  I never  heard.  Why,  sir,  it 
would  melt  the  heart  of  a stone  to  hear  them,  and  throth  the 
very  dogs  howled  and  cried,  for  you’d  think  the  brutes  knew 
what  it  was  all  about ; and  they  howled  away  until  the  houses 
were  all  down,  and  one  of  them  stopped  howling  and  harking 
at  his  master  s door  for  several  days  after , and  wouldn’t  leave 
it  for  any  one . & 

My  friend,  Mr.  Donovan,  who  heard  the  poor  fellow’s  simple, 
but  to  me  touching  narrative,  corroborated  him  in  every  word 
he  said,  and  you  shall  have  further  proof  of  it  hereafter.  The 
man  went  on — “Well  sir,  that  wasn’t  all — some  of  the  walls 
were  left  standing,  and  when  the  night  came  they  threw  up  a 
few  kippeens  of  sticks  to  shelter  themselves  from  the  cold,  but 
the  next  day  she — well,  God  forgive  her  after  all — she , it  is  said 
ordered  her  bailiffs  to  root  up  the  foundations  to  prevent  the 
wretches — it’s  wretches,  sir,  they  were  called — of  going 
there  any  more.” 

That  was  rather  severe,  I observed. 

“ Oh,”  but  sir,  said  the  man,  with  a degree  of  horror  depicted 
in  his  face,  “that  isn’t  all,  for  she  sent  orders  to  all  her 
tenants  not  to  let  one  of  them  in,  or  if  they  did  she  would  serve 
them  the  same  way — at  least  such  orders  were  given  in  her 
name  ” 

I said,  I don’t  believe  that,  my  good  friend. 

Don’t  you,  sir,  said  the  man?  No,  I replied. 

Faith  and  I could  bring  you  at  least  to  one  person  that  was 
warned  at  all  events.  I will  not  credit  the  story  otherwise, 
said  I. 

It  is  very  currently  reported,  said  Mr.  Donovan,  and  is 
believed  to  be  true. 

Who  gave  the  notice  to  the  tenants,  I inquired  of  the  man  v 
Why,  the  bailiffs,  sir. 


16 


Could  you  show  me  any  person  to  whom  such  a notice  was 
given  either  in  words,  or  in  writing?  Oh  ! Sir,  it  was  not  in 
writing,  the  bailiffs  only  called  and  told  the  people. 

Then  let  me  see  any  one  that  the  bailiff  called  on.  There’s 
a woman  down  here  below  on  the  road,  and  if  your  honour 
Cfiipes  down,  she  will  tell  you  alkabout  it. 
j We  went  down  accordingly,  b'ut  the  woman  was  at  the 
irr^k^ofM^unt  Bellew.  There  was  a boy  there  about  nine 
or  fen  years  of  age,  who  told  us  that  one  of  the  bailiffs  told  his 
mammy  not  to  take  in  any  of  the  people  who  were  turned  out, 
but  his  mammy  let  in  an  old  woman  after  that.  I would  not 
have  placed  much  reliance  on  this  corroboration,  except  for 
what  you  will  learn  somewhat  further  on.  It  is  to  be  hoped, 
for  the  sake  of  humanity,  and  of  womanhood,  that  Mrs. 
Gerrard  is  ignorant  of  this  order.  *T\ffter  some  further  conver- 
sation with  the  people,  which  you  wiffTind  embodied  in  the  gene- 
ral details,  we  proceeded  towards  Mount  Bellew,  and  at  every 
step'new  heaps  of  dung,  sticks,  diseased  potatoes,  with  the  general 
things  mentioned  as  about  the  ruins,  which  had  been  carried 
away  and  deposited  on  the  road  side,  met  our  eyes.  There 
were  several  houses  levelled  along  the  road ; but  as  I have  com- 
puted them  amongst  the  total  number,  and  as  they  presented 
the  same  mournful  appearance,  what  I have  said  of  the  village 
applies  to  these  detached  houses.  This  day  being  market-day 
in  Mount  Bellew,  the  people  on  their  return  from  the  market 
collected  in  large  numbers  to  view  the  desolation.  After  passing 
the  last  of  those  now  mouldering  dwellings,  we  came  to  a sharp 
hill;  the  western  ditch  was  well  secured  by  a fine  thorn  hedge, 
which  afforded  us  ample  shelter  from  a heavy  sleet  shower 
which  set  in  at  the  time.  We  were  joined  shortly  after  by  large 
crowds  who  were  circumstanced  as  we  were.'  The  people  all 
seemed  to  know  Mr.  Donovan,  and  as  each  person  came  up 
they  took  off  their  hats  to  him  and  myself.  We  told  them  not 
to  do  so,  but  still  they  persisted.  We  entered  into  conversation 
with  them,  of  course  on  the  subject  of  the  eviction,  but  before  I 
detail  what  took  place  here,  permit  me  to  say,  that  although  I 
have  often  regretted  that  I was  ignorant  of  the  Irish  language,  I 
never  really  felt  the  want  of  it  until  yesterday ; and,  although 
I could  not  understand  it,  yet  it  drew  tears  from  my  eyes  to 
hear  the  energy  and  earnestness  with  which  the  poor  creatures 
spoke  in  the  expressive  language  of  their  native  land  when 
addressing  Mr.  Donovan  (who,  fortunately,  is  arv  excellent 
Irish  scholar,  and  speaks  the  language  with  great  fluency)  and 


17 


myself,  and  this,  coupled  with  their  natural  energetic  manner, 
could  not  fail  to  leave  a deep  and  lasting  impression.  We  were 
surrounded  at  this  time  by  not  less  than  a couple  of  hundred 
persons,  one  of  whom  coming  up  to  Mr.  Donovan,  said  in 
Irish — “Oh,  Mr.  Donovan,  jew£l,  you  see  they  have  not  left 
us  a house  on  the  side  of  the  road  fy  shelter  us  from  the  showgju 
Godjforgive  them.”  ff  LfytLjLv/  f 

Are  you  one  of  the  persons  who  was  turned  out  ? No,  sir, 
buTI  was  looking  at  them,  and  I knew  all  the  people ; and 
Mr.  Donovan,  jewel,  if  you  only  saw  the  way  they  pulled  down 
the  places.  Why,  they  rushed  at  them  like  an  army  after  a 
battle,  into  a town  to  plunder  and  burn  it. 

This  sentence  was  given  with  a degree  of  melancholy  pathos, 
and  also  an  action  suited  to  the  words  that  must  have  touched 
the  most  heartless.  Up  to  this  time  I had  not  met  with  any 
person  who  had  resided  in  the  village,  although  I inquired 
anxiously  for  some  of  them.  Where  are  they  gone  to,  I 
enquired  of  an  intelligent  man  with  whom  I was  in  conversa- 
tion. Why,  sir,  some  of  them  are  gone  to  the  hospitals,  as  they 
got  sickness  out  of  the  ditches,  others  are  begging  through  the 
country ; some  of  them  are  in  the  neighbours’  houses,  more  of 
of  them  in  Mount  Bellew,  and  some  of  them  who  had  a trifle 
of  money,  are  gone  off  to  America.  I expressed  a wish  to  be 
directed  where  I could  meet  some  of  the  poor  people,  when  the 
man  said,  “ Oh,  here  is  one  of  them  coming  down  the  hill.” 
This  person,  who  soon  joined  us,  was  old,  and  as  he  raised  his 
hat  to  salute  me,  his  long  white  hair  floated  on  the  breeze. 

He  was  an  athletic  handsome  old  man,  with  a mournful  coun- 
tenance, and  as  he  addressed  me  in  the  beautiful  and  simple 
language  so  well  known  amongst  the  country  people — “ God 
save  you,  Sir,”  (he  spoke  English  very  well),  I felt  a reve- 
rence for  the  old,  ill-treated,  and  unhappy  man. 

Are  you  one  of  the  people  who  were  recently  turned  out  ? 

I enquired.  Indeed  I am,  sir,  said  he,  with  a heavy  sigh. 

How  old  are  you,  sir?  Nearly  eighty. 

How  long  did  you  reside  in  the  village  of  Ballinlass  ? 

Over  sixty-eight  years,  sir,  said  he,  and  burst  into  tears. 

How  many  in  family  have  you  ? 

Three,  together  with  myself,  but  I had  a great  deal  more 
than  that%  Some  of  them  are  dead  and  gone,  and  well  for 
them  they  didn’t  live  to  see  this  desolate  day ; others  of  them 
are  married,  and  some  more  are  gone  to  America. 


18 


How  much  land  had  you?  Why,  I can’t  rightly  tell,  as 
there  were  no  regular  farms,  but  there  was  over  400  acres 
belonging  to  the  village. 

Did  you  owe  any  rent  ? I did,  sir. 

Were  you  able  to  pay  it?  I was,  sir,  and  willing  too,  but 
she  wouldn’t  take  it  for  the  last  five  half  years. 

Why  so  ? Why,  because,  sir,  she  wanted  to  throw  down  the 
houses  to  make  bullock  pastures. 

Did  you  ever  offer  the  rent  to  the  lady  ? I did,  sir,  more 
than  twenty  times,  and  I offered  it  to  her  agent  also,  but  they 
would  not  take  it.  We  went  to  the  hall-door  (meaning  the 
hall- door  of  the  lodge  already  mentioned)  often  with  the  rent, 
but  they  wouldn’t  take  it  from  us.  Every  man  in  the  village 
but  one  offered  the  rent  over  and  over,  but  they  wouldn’t  take 
it,  and  we  offered  to  pay  that  man’s  rent,  but  they  wouldn’t 
take  that  either. 

Is  it  true  that  the  remainder  of  the  walls  were  ordered  to  be 
thrown  down  to  prevent  the  people  from  sheltering  themselves 
at  night  ? In  troth  it  is,  sir : they  wouldn’t  let  any  one  go 
near  the  place ; we  slept  in  the  ditches  for  two  nights,  and  I 
got  pains  in  my  poor  old  bones  after  it. 

Did  the  women  sleep  in  the  ditches  ? They  did,  sir,  and  I 
saw  one  of  the  women  with  a child  at  her  breast  hunted  by  the 
bailiffs  from  three  places  the  night  after  they  threw  down  the 
houses,  when  we  were  under  the  walls,  and  they  came  to  put  out 
the  fires,  and  they  put  out  the  fires  in  the  road  ditches  on  us  too. 

Good  God  ! I exclaimed,  turning  to  Mr.  Donovan,  can  this 
old  man  be  telling  truth  ? 

He  is  telling  truth  so  far  as  he  goes,  but  he  could  not  tell 
you  half  the  truth.  Part  of  what  he  states  to  you  I have  wit- 
nessed myself,  and  there  are  hundreds  here  who  can  swear  to 
every  word  of  it. 

I am  an  old  man  now,  said  poor  Rock,  for  that  was  the  name 
of  my  venerable  acquaintance,  Mr.  Donovan  knows  me  well, 
and  God  knows  I have  not  long  to  live ; I am  telling  you  the 
truth,  sir,  and  to  my  knowing  or  knowledge,  I never  told  a lie 
in  my  life,  and  it’s  too  late  for  me  to  begin  now.  This  was 
uttered  with  a degree  of  earnest  fervour  and  honesty  that  could 
not  be  mistaken  or  disbelieved. 

I shall  now  close  this  letter  by  sending  you  a list  of  the 
families,  with  the  number  in  each,  who  were  dispossessed  on 
this  occasion. 


Names  of  Families  ejected  from  the  Village  of  Ballinlass , on  the 
13  th  of  March , 1846: — 

Luke  Gavin,  8;  Patrick  Mantron,  5 ; Tom  Gavin,*  4;  Pat 
Gavin,  6;  Bryan  Connor,  6;  Andy  Pinerty,  3;  John  Conlan, 

6 ; Murray,  4 ; Thady  Kilmartin,  8 ; Pat  Neil,  9 ; Thady 

Bock,  4 ; Patrick  Morris,  5 ; Laurence  Bock,  5 ; Michael 
Bock,  5;  Pat  Gavin,  4;  Michael  Gavin,  4;  John  Dillon,  6; 
Widow  Gavin,  5 ; John  Flaherty,  4 ; Pat  Conroy,  5 ; Larry 
Crehan,  6 ; Thomas  Tansey,  4 ; Widow  Kenny,  3 ; James 
Monaghan,  4 ; Mark  Loftus,  3 ; Mathew  Bryan,  6 ; Thady 
Gavin,  1 ; Thomas  Gavin,  2 ; Thomas  Gavin,  3 ; Michael 
Cheevers,  7 ; PatBogerscn,  6 ; Pat  Higgins,  6 ; Pat  Gibbons,  1 ; 
Patrick  Driscol,  6 ; Thomas  Kelly,  3 ; Billy  Discon,  4 ; John 
Norton,  1 ; Michael  Clarke,  5 ; James  Gavin,  6;  Widow  Daly, 
3 ; Laurence  Kilmartin,  7 ; Mark  Gavin,  3 ; John  Gavin,  3 ; 
Widow  O’Hara,  4 ; Widow  Discon,  5 ; Billy  Geoghegan,  2 ; 
John  Walsh,  2 ; Ned  Smyth,  5 ; Boger  Forcy,  5 ; Thomas 
Norton,  1 ; Thady  Conlan,  7 ; John  Manahan,  8 ; Michael 
Mulrey,  4 ; Pat  Flymings,  3 ; James  Hegan,  2 ; Widow  Crog- 
han,  4 ; Widow  Murray,  3 ; Widow  Kenney,  4 ; John  Cal- 
laghan, 2 ; Pat  Morissy,  4 ; James  Egan,  5.  Total  families, 
61.  Total  persons,  270. 

You  will  at  once  perceive  from  this  letter  that  I have  gone 
on  by  stages  in  order  to  elicit  facts,  and  every  word  contained 
in  my  present  communication  you  may  rely  on. 


LETTEB  II. 

Ballinamore,  county  Galway,  Friday  night, 
27th  March,  1846. 

I this  day,  in  company  with  three  other  gentlemen,  paid  a 
second  visit  to  Ballinlass,  the  result  of  which  has  more  than 
confirmed  every  statement  made  to  me.  But  I must  refer  you 
to  my  next  letter  for  details  of  this  second  visit,  as  I wish  to 
proceed  in  the  order  in  which  my  information  was  obtained.  I 
may  here  remark  that  the  case  has  created  the  greatest  excite- 
ment in  Galway  and  Boscommon,  and  that  even  amongst  the 

* The  Gavins  were  very  numerous  here,  but  although  there  are  several  of 
the  same  name,  they  each  composed  separate  families. 


20 


gentry  and  landlords  it  is  deemed  “ too  bad but  on  this  point 
I shall  have  something  to  say  hereafter. 

I resume  my  conversation  with  the  old  man  Bock,  where  I had 
left  off.  I enquired  of  him  “what  will  you  do  now  ?”  “ God 

only  knows,  sir,  for  I do  not ; I have  been  turned  out  in  my 
old  days,  and  I don’t  know  where  to  go.” 

Having  concluded  this  conversation,  and  turning  our  back 
upon  the  ruined  village,  I returned  to  Mount  Bellew,  and,  on 
arriving  there  along  with  Mr.  Donovan,  we  were  at  once  ac- 
costed by  seven  or  eight  of  the  people  who  had  been  dispos- 
sessed. They  approached  us  with  tears  in  their  eyes.  The 
poor  fellows  looked  very  sad,  and  the  women,  many  of  whom 
carried  children  in  their  arms,  grouped  around  us  as  if  we 
could  have  restored  them  to  their  once  peaceful  homes.  It  was 
a scene  of  deep  melancholy  ; several  of  the  poor  men  were 
questioned,  and  all  told  the  same  story  that  I have  already 
written.  They  repeated  that  they  had  offered  the  rent  for  their 
holdings,  but  that  it  was  refused.  They  described  the  pulling 
down  of  the  houses,  &c.  Here  I met  a gentleman  (amongst 
others)  whose  name  I send  you  in  confidence,  to  be  used  here- 
after, if  necessary.  He  said  you  ought  to  be  cautious  how  you 
take  down  what  these  persons  say.  I am  a friend  of  huma- 
nity, and  I feel  very  much  for  the  poor  people,  as  I know  they 
have  been  treated  very  harshly,  for  they  offered  to  pay  their 
rent,  and,  on  equitable  principles,  ought  not  to  have  been 
turned  out,  but  of  course  they  will  tell  you  one  side  of  the 
story  only. 

Do  you  know  anything  about  the  facts,  I asked — if  so,  you  will 
oblige  me  by  stating  what  has  comes  within  your  knowledge? 
Why  I know  the  people  have  been  turned  out,  at  the  same 
time  that  they  offered  the  rent  that  was  due  ; some  of  them 
are  in  comfortable  circumstances,  and  are  able  to  procure  places, 
as  they  possess  the  means  ; others  are  wretchedly  poor,  and 
must  go  to  the  workhouse,  if  the  neighbours  do  not  support 
them  ; I know  that  some  of  them  will  be  obliged  to  beg,  and 
are  doing  so  already,  but  you  ought  to  take  down  the  two  sides 
of  the  question.  I informed  him  that  that  was  my  duty,  and 
would  feel  thankful  to  him  for  stating  any  fact,  assuring  him 
that  I would  record  all  I heard  on  either  side.  I then  asked 
him  would  the  poorer  portion  of  the  people,  whom  he  said 
would  be  compelled  to  resort  to  the  workhouses,  or  beg  for 
their  bread,  would  they  have  been  so  circumstanced  if  they  were 


21 


permitted  to  remain  in  their  humble  habitations  ? His  answer 
was,  “ I don’t  think  they  would,  as  their  neighbours  would 
have  given  them  assistance,  and  helped  to  pay  the  rent  for  them.  ” 

Then,  would  it  not  not  have  been  better  to  let  them  remain 
where  they  were  ? Iam  not  prepared  to  say. 

Why  ? Why  on  the  principle  that  a person  can  do  as  one 
pleases  with  one’s  own  property. 

That  is  good  in  law,  though  it  may  not  always  be  humane  or 
or  equitable. 

Were  these  poor  people  given  or  offered  any  compensation  ? 
Yes,  they  were  forgiven  what  rent  they  owed. 

But  they  offered  to  pay  it,  according  to  their  own  relation, 
and  all  they  wanted  was  to  remain  in  possession  of  their  places  ? 
Oh  ! I believe  so.  But  some  of  them  are  very  comfortable, 
and  I would  advise  you  not  to  believe  all  they  tell  you. 

Some  of  those  ejected  have  informed  me  that  orders  were 
given  to  other  tenants  not  to  allow  them  into  their  houses,  nor 
to  afford  them  any  relief ; do  you  think  that  is  correct  ? I 
have  heard  such  a story,  but  I don’t  believe  it,  as  I don’t  think 
any  person  could  be  so  hard-hearted  as  to  give  such  instruc- 
tions. 

I then  entered  the  house  of  Mr.  Tully,  who  keeps  an  inn, 
attached  to  a grocery  establishment,  where  several  of  the  evicted 
persons  followed  me.  They  formed  a circle  round  me,  each 
man  taking  off  his  hat,  and  the  women  almost  knelt  to  us.  I 
don’t  know  what  they  imagined  was  the  purpose  of  my  visit, 
but  they  looked  to  Mr.  Donovan  and  myself  in  the  most  piteous 
manner,  and  asked  did  we  think  that  they  would  be  allowed  to 
go  back  and  build  their  houses  ? Mr.  Donovan  told  them  that 
we  could  not  afford  them  any  relief,  but  if  they  had  anything 
to  say  that  I would  record  it.  Here  we  were  joined  by  Mr. 
Tully,  the  owner  of  the  house,  the  gentleman  above  alluded  to, 
Mr.  Kennedy,  and  Head-constable  Dennehy,  who  is  stationed 
at  Mount-Bellew,  and  who  has  charge  of  that  district. 

Mr.  Donovan  asked  Mr.  Dennehy  if  he  were  present  at  the 
eviction  on  Friday,  the  13th  March  ? The  officer  replied  he 
was  ; and  added,  “ I never  in  the  course  of  my  experience  saw 
such  a horrible  sight.”  Then,  turning  to  me,  he  said,  “Why, 
sir,  it  would  make  the  hair  of  your  head  stand  on  end ; and,  if 
you  had  the  heart  of  a stone,  not  to  speak  of  that  of  a man,  it 
would  melt  it.  But  you  know  I was  there  to  do  my  duty.” 
He  then  entered  into  a detail  of  the  facts  which  I have  already 

c 


22 


given,  and  added — “ It  was  stated  that  Mrs.  Gerrard  turned 
out  only  about  four  hundred  people  ; why,  of  my  own  know- 
ledge, I should  say  I think  she  has,  within  the  last  three  years 
and  a half,  turned  out  more  than  FOUR  THOUSAND !” 

“May  I advance  your  authority  for  that,  sir?”  I asked. 

“You  may  make  the  statement  on  my  authority,”  was  the 
answer. 

“Well,”  said  I,  “Mr.  Donovan,  you  hear  what  this  officer 
says  ?”  “ I do,”  said  my  friend. 

“ And  you  may  use  it  any  way  you  please,”  said  the  con- 
stable, 4 4 and  give  me  as  your  author ; and  when  I say  FOUR 
THOUSAND  I think  I am  under  the  mark.  I declare  to  God, 
sir,  I never  saw  such  a sight  as  it  was.  The  very  dogs  barked 
and  howled  at  us  ;”  and  this  public  officer  then  confirmed  the 
story  about  the  dog,  which  I have  already  given,  and  said  he 
saw  it  himself. 

I repeated  to  him,  in  the  presnce  of  Mr.  Donovan,  that  I 
would  make  use  of  what  he  said,  and  he  again  assured  me  I 
might  do  so  on  his  authority.  He  then  on  went  to  describe  the 
harrowing  scene  he  had  witnessed  on  the  morning  of  the  13th. 
The  women  and  children,  he  said,  ran  out  of  the  houses  half 
dressed,  and  their  frantic  screams,  as  they  gathered  up  some 
bit  of  clothing  or  furniture,  was  beyond  all  description  terrifi- 
cally painful.  Some  were  to  be  seen  running  off  with  the  sticks 
that  formed  portions  of  the  house  roofs,  and  more  of  them,  in 
their  bare  feet,  were  helping  the  men  to  carry  off  the  dung  in 
baskets  on  their  backs  and  heads  to  the  road  side.  Some  of 
them  clung  with  wild  tenacity  to  the  door-posts  from  whence 
they  were  dragged  by  the  bailiffs,  and  those  who  could  not  be 
got  away  ran  a great  risk  of  their  lives  by  the  tumbling  down 
of  the  roofs  and  walls,  and  many  had  very  narrow  escapes.  I 
was  also  informed  by  a person  who  said  he  saw  one  of  the  eject- 
ments, that  Lord  Killeen’s  name  was  in  the  process  as  a party. 
The  head  constable  of  police,  Mr.  Dennehy,  then  proceed- 
ed to  say  : — I speak  in  presence  of  Mr.  Donovan,  Mr.  Tully, 
and  other  gentlemen,  and  I have  to  say  that  I never  knew  a 
more  peaceable,  quiet,  or  orderly  people  than  those  who  lived 
in  that  village.  I never  had  a summons  or  complaint  of  any 
kind  against  a man  of  them ; they  were  never  charged  with 
any  crime  ; there  never  was  a breach  of  the  peace  or  any  other 
charge  made  against  them ; and  they  were  the  honestest,  most 
industrious,  and  best  behaved  people  of  their  class  I ever  knew. 


23 


They  were  extremely  sober,  and  it  was  a cruel  thing  to  sepa- 
rate them ; I never  had  a warrant  out  against  one  of  them,  and 
I don’t  think  there  were  a more  respectable  set  of  people  in 
this  country. 

Mr.  Tully  corroborated  every  word  spoken  by  Head-consta- 
ble Dennehy,  and  said  he  knew  the  place  since  he  was  a 
child,  and  he  never  knew  a charge  of  any  kind  brought  against 
one  of  the  people.  He  could  say  with  truth  that  there  was  not 
in  Ireland  better  tenants  than  they  were,  but  although  some  of 
them  had  small  means  left,  he  was  sorry,  very  sorry,  to  say 
that  others  of  them  would  never  again  see  a house  of  their  own 
over  their  heads,  particularly  the  widows  and  orphans. 

I then  asked  Mr , the  gentleman  whose  name  I send  you, 

if  he  had  anything  to  say  ? and  his  reply  was,  No  sir,  but  don’t 
believe  all  you  hear. 

Head- constable  Dennehy  said — Mr.  , are  we  not  tel- 
ling truth  ? Mr. said — I don’t  know ; and  again  addres- 

sing me,  said,  dont  credit  all  you  hear — hear  the  other  side 
also. 

I shall  put  down  all  I hear  on  either  side — that  is  my  busi- 
ness here,  and  if  you  or  any  other  gentleman  has  anything  to 
say,  I assure  you  I shall  take  it  down  most  willingly. 

We  are  all  here  in  presence  of  Mr. (meaning  myself), 

said  Mr.  Kennedy,  and  now  is  the  time  for  us  to  tell  him  all. 
We  know  that  he  will  take  it  down.  Have  you  any  thing  to 

say  ? I repeated  the  question  put  by  Mr.  Kennedy,  to  Mr 

He  said — I have  nothing  to  say,  but  dont  believe  all  you  hear, 
as,  perhaps,  it’s  not  so  bad  after  all.  He  then  bid  us  good 
bye,  and  went  away. 

I then,  in  presence  of  Head-constable  Dennehy,  Mr,  Tully, 
Mr.  Donovan, ‘Mr.  Kennedy,  and  another  gentleman,  asked 
some  of  the  evicted  people  what  they  had  to  say  ? The  spokes- 
man of  the  party,  who  appeared  a respectable  man,  named 
Gavin,  and  who  spoke  English  very  well,  said  he  would  tell 
me  the  whole  truth,  and  nothing  but  the  truth. 

If  you  tell  any  thing  else,  said  Mr.  Dennehy,  to  this  gentle- 
man, I will  contradict  you,  so  mind  what  you  say.  I never 
told  a lie  in  my  life  to  my  knowing  or  knowledge  said  Gavin, 
and  I am  not  going  to  tell  one  now  to  the  gentleman,  before 
you  and  the  other  gentlemen.  He  then  gave  me  the  list  of  the 
families,  and  the  number  of  persons  who  were  turned  out  (I 
have  already  forwarded  that  list  to  you),  and  asked  Mr. 


24 


Dennehy  if  it  were  not  quite  correct.  The  officer  replied  it  was, 
he  believed,  quite  correct. 

Gavin  then  entered  into  the  details  (which  I have  already 
noted)  and  said,  sir,  is  not  that  all  true.  The  head-constable 
replied  it  was  all  true. 

I asked  if  orders  had  been  given  to  other  tenants  on  the 
estate  not  to  allow  the  poor  people  into  their  houses  for 
shelter?  Gavin — It  is  true,  sir,  and  I was  refused  to  be  let 
into  one  tenant’s  house,  and  I came  here  and  took  a lodging. 

The  gentlemen  present  said  they  had  all  heard  the  story. 

Is  it  true  that  the  other  tenants  were  told  not  to  give  any 
relief  to  the  poor  people  ? Gavin — It  is,  sir ; and  one  of  the 
widows  was  refused  a few  potatoes,  but  it  wasn’t  their  hearts 
that  made  them  do  that,  but  the  fear. 

Tell  me  the  names  of  the  tenants  who  refused.  Why,  I will 
if  you  like,  sir,  but  it  might  bring  them  into  trouble. 

But  here,  in  order  to  save  post,  I must  conclude. 


LETTER  III. 

Ballinamore,  County  Galway, 

27th  March,  1846. 

SECOND  VISIT  TO  THE  DESTROYED  VILLAGE  OF  BALLINLASS. 

Before  entering  into  a history  of  yesterday’s  visit  to  that 
locality,  I must  finish  my  notes  taken  at  Mount  Bellew,  the 
preceding  part  of  which  I forwarded  to  you  last  night.  Per- 
haps the  result  of  my  inquiry  here  may  be  summed  up  in  the 
following  most  emphatic  sentence  of  Mr.  Tully,  whose  name, 
and  the  observations  made  by  him,  are  already  before  you. 
He  said — “ Sir,  the  parish  chapel  (meaning  the  parish  in  which 
the  village  was  situate),  which  used  to  be  crowded,  and  where 
you  could  not  stir  on  a Sunday  by  reason  of  the  numbers,  is 
now  so  deserted  that  you  might  make  a ball-room  of  it ; for 
since  the  people  were  turned  out,  it  is  all  but  empty.  The 
poor  people  who  used  to  attend  there  have  been  swept  away, 
root  and  branch,  and  they  are  now  scattered  about  in  all  direc- 
tions.” After  a great  deal  of  general  conversation  on  the 
subject,  I left  Mount  Bellew  in  company  with  my  friend.  On 
the  road  towards  Ballygar  we  overtook  a gentleman,  whose 
name  I send  you.  He  is  a professional  man,  and,  as  he  told 
me  himself,  a near  relative  of  Mrs.  Gerrard.  I was  fortunate 
in  meeting  him,  for  I consider  his  evidence  very  important,  at 


25 


the  same  time  that  it  was  given  freely  and  without  prejudice. 
He  asked  if  I had  witnessed  the  scene  of  destruction  at  Ballin- 
lass  ? I replied  in  the  affirmative. 

Did  you  ever  see  anything  so  frightful?  he  again  asked. 
Never. 

Well,  and  do  you  see  these  two  villages  over  there  ? Yes. 

They  are  under  orders  to  quit,  and  the  notices  are  actually 
served  on  the  inhabitants  of  one  of  them  already.  You  may 
give  that  on  my  authority.  I don’t  wish  to  speak  harshly  of  a 
lady,  and  she  my  own  relation,  but  I can’t  help  saying,  that 
she  is  the  greatest  exterminator  of  tenantry  in  the  county — 
perhaps  in  Ireland,  and  it  is  not  now  she  has  commenced  it — 
she  is  at  it  more  than  twenty  years.  I will  show  you,  along 
the  road  here,  for  the  next  six  miles,  up  to  where  her  land 
joins  my  father’s,  where  she  has  turned  out  hundreds — aye, 
thousands  of  people  for  the  last  twenty  years,  and,  as  you  will 
perceive,  turned  the  places  into  bullock  pastures. 

We  proceeded  along  the  road,  and  at  every  step  he  gave  me 
ample  testimony  of  what  he  had  stated.  The  land  appears  to 
be  very  fine,  and  was  covered  with  immense  herds  of  bullocks. 
The  gentleman  communicated  many  facts  to  me  ; but  I think 
it  right  to  confine  myself  to  the  recent  affair,  as  that  was,  I 
believe,  your  object  in  sending  me  down.  I have  given  the 
facts  as  I found  them,  coupled  with  the  authority,  and  it  will 
be  for  the  public  to  draw  their  conclusions.  Of  course,  I heard 
a great  many  stories  about  harsh  and  cruel  treatment,  but  you 
will  find  I have  not  noticed  them,  except  on  the  most  indis- 
putable evidence.  I now  pass  over  a variety  of  matter,  and 
come  at  once  to  my 

SECOND  VISIT  TO  THE  SCENE  OF  DESTRUCTION, 

And,  after  reading  the  facts,  let  them  speak  trumpet-tongued 
to  the  world  of  the  desolation  that  reigns  here.  Early  on 
Thursday  morning,  by  appointment,  I met  Mr.  Tully,  of  the 
Roscommon  Journal , Mr.  P.  Ryan,  of  the  Victoria  Hotel,  Ros- 
common, and  Mr.  Donovan,  of  Ballygar,  and  we  proceeded  at 
once  to  the  place.  Mr.  Ryan,  who  is  an  eminent  engineer 
and  surveyor,  came  from  Roscommon  (18  miles)  specially 
to  make  a map  of  the  place,  which  he  has  done.  The  first 
object  that  caught  our  eyes  was  the  poor  old  man  (Tliady 
Rock,)  before  alluded  to,  on  the  road  side,  with  a fork  in  his 
hand,  scraping  up  some  dung  that  lay  in  the  ditch.  It  was 
pitiable  to  look  at  him — I shall  not  attempt  description.  On 

c 2 


26 


asking  him  what  he  was  doing  ? he  replied,  “ scraping  up  this 
bit  of  manure,  as  it’s  all  I have  left  now.  I am  striving  to 
make  out  a few  bits,  if  I can  get  a potato  to  sow.  We  went 
down  the  togher  to  the  place  where  the  village  had  been,  and 
on  our  approach  towards  the  first  ruin,  we  heard  a wild  and 
piercing  cry.  We  looked,  but  saw  nothing,  still  the  cry  con- 
tinued. A little  onward,  and  we  saw  all.  I protest  to  heaven, 
the  scene  outstrips  all  imagination.  I would  to  God  I had 
never  beheld  it,  for  it  has  affected  me  physically  and  mentally 
since,  and  the  gentlemen  who  accompanied  me,  protest  before 
heaven,  that  they  would  not  accept  the  emperorship  of  the 
world,  on  the  terms  of  again  beholding  such  another  sight. 
On  a ditch,  under  a thorn,  sat  two  as  pretty  girls  as  I have 
ever  seen,  and  two  old  women  (both  widows)  ; and  from  these, 
and  two  boys  who  were  a few  paces  off,  the  cry  proceeded.  On 
observing  us — for  we  came  on  them  rather  suddenly — they 
started  up  and  ran  away,  for  the  poor  creatures  imagined  we 
were  going  to  hunt  them  off.  One  of  my  friends  (they  all 
spoke  Irish)  called  after  them  in  Irish,  and  they  immediately 
stopped.  We  went  over  to  them,  and  I asked  one  of  the 
women  what  they  were  crying  for?  She  could  not  speak 
English,  but  in  reply  to  my  friends,  she  said  they  came  to  cry 
over  the  ruins  where  their  fathers  for  three  generations  had 
been  born,  and  reared ; but  they  thought  we  were  going  to 
hunt  them  off.  They  were  assured  that  we  had  no  such  in- 
tention, and  that  we  only  came  to  see  the  place,  and  make  some 
inquiry.  One  of  the  old  women  then  turned  to  the  other,  and 
said  these  are  the  gentlemen,  and  that’s  the  other  gentleman 
(pointing  at  me)  sent  by  the  Queen  (for  I had  been  magnified 
into  a government  commissioner  by  more  than  the  poor  people, 
(but  of  that  hereafter)  from  England,  to  see  the  misery,  God 
bless  him.  Of  course  this  is  a translation,  as  the  only  word  I 
could  recognise  was  “ sassanagh”  This  incident  might  have 
made  me  laugh  at  another  moment,  but  I assure  you  from 
what  I saw  and  the  wailing  which  I heard  around  me,  my  feel- 
ings were  at  that  time  very  foreign  from  a disposition  to  indulge 
in  mirth.  I asked  one  of  the  girls  if  she  spoke  English,  and 
she  replied  she  did.  Whose  daughter  are  you  ? Thady  Kil- 
martin’s.  Did  you  live  here  ? Yes,  sir,  (and  she  burst  into 
an  uncontrolled  fit  of  wailing,  that  still  rings  in  my  ears). 
We  lived  over  there  (pointing  to  the  house),  but  they  came 
and  threw  it  down  a- top  of  us.  Well,  where  do  you  live  now  ? 


27 


Over  there  (pointing  in  the  direction  of  Mount  Bellew).  How 
old  are  you  ? About  14  or  15  years.  What  brought  you  here 
now  ? I came  to  look  for  an  old  pot  to  boil  a few  potatoes.  Has 
your  father  much  potatoes  now  ? Only  very  little,  sir,  said 
the  girl,  sobbing  loudly.  I then  turned  to  the  other,  one  of 
the  sweetest-faced  children  (about  12  years  of  age)  I had  ever 
beheld.  She  too  was  wailing,  but  not  so  louldly  as  the  others. 
There  sat  the  poor  girl  with  her  petticoat  wrapped  round  her 
shoulders,  and  rocking  to  and  fro.  “Well,  my  poor  child,” 
said  I,  “what  are  you  crying  for?”  She  looked  full  in  my 
face,  strove  to  give  me  a reply,  but  she  failed ; her  tears  and 
sobs  almost  choked  her.  I offered  her  a few  words  of  consola- 
tion— I should  rather  say  I spoke  kindly  to  her,  and  in  some 
time  she  was  able  to  converse  with  me,  as  she  had  for  the  moment 
conquered  her  feelings.  “ Whose  daughter  are  you  ?”  “ Pat 

Nail’s,  sir.”  “ Where  did  your  house  stand?”  “ There,  sir,” 
pointing  to  the  ruin,  and  again  she  burst  out  crying.  She  was 
joined  by  the  old  woman  (the  Widow  Gavin),  and  the  two 
boys.  I was  even  more  affected  than  I would  care  to  mention 
upon  paper,  and  my  companions  shed  tears. 

Mr.  Donovan  asked  the  old  woman  of  what  use  was  it  to  be 
crying  there  ? The  answer  was,  sure  they  might  be  allowed 
to  cry  where  their  three  generations  before  them  lived.  The 
scene  reminded  me  of  some  of  those  desolations  so  touchingly 
described  in  scripture.  The  poor  village  of  Ballinlass  was  a 
Jerusalem  to  its  own  daughters.  Mr.  By  an  then  commenced 
making  a sketch  of  the  place,  and  the  old  woman  with  the  two 
boys  accompanied  us,  giving  any  information  we  required,  as 
to  who  lived  here — how  much  land  each  person  had,  &c.  After 
going  on  for  some  time,  one  of  the  boys  said,  rather  alarmed — 
“Look,  here’s  Kenny,  one  of  the  bailiffs,  coming.”  “Well, 
my  boy,”  said  I,  “what  of  that?”  “Maybe,  sir,”  said  the 
poor  fellow,  “ he’ll  put  us  off.”  “ Do  not  be  alarmed,”  said  I. 
Kenny  came  up  shortly  after,  and  he  was  not  over  a minute 
with  us  when  the  boys — as  if  by  magic — disappeared,  and  we 
saw  no  more  of  them.  I don’t  know  why  they  left  us,  but  the 
observation  made  by  the  little  fellow  a short  time  before  may 
lead  to  a solution.  Kenny,  however,  did  not  attempt  to  exter- 
minate us ; he  went  with  us  all  through,  and  altogether  I am 
bound  to  say  that,  although  he  was  exceeding  chary  of  his 
answers  (I  don’t  blame  him  for  that),  he  acted  civilly,  and  I 
was  very  glad  that  I met  him,  as  I consider  his  evidence 


28 


important.  After  some  general  conversation  we  proceeded 
with  Mr.  Ryan,  who  was  still  sketching  as  we  went  on.  That 
gentleman  asked  Kenny  what  the  land  was  an  acre  at  the  boggy 
side  of  the  togher  ? There  are  two  of  the  tenants  (said  Kenny, 
pointing  to  the  widows),  they  will  tell  you  all  you  want  to  know. 

I told  Kenny  that  we  would  be  very  glad  of  his  company, 
and  that  we  would  feel  obliged  by  his  contradicting  any  of  their 
statements  if  they  told  us  anything  save  truth.  This  he  pro- 
mised to  do,  and  went  on  with  us. 

“ Well,”  said  Mr.  Ryan  to  the  women,  “ what  was  paid  an 
acre  for  this  land  ?”  Thirty  shillings.  Is  it  for  that  land  next 
the  bog  ? Yes,  sir.  Is  that  true,  Mr.  Kenny  ? Oh,  yes,  it 
was  taken  all  around  at  thirty  shillings  first,  but  you  know  the 
other  side  is  a great  deal  better  than  this. 

Mr.  Ryan  is  a practical  man,  and  knows  the  value  of  land 
well : he  holds  extensively  himself,  and  he  declared  most  posi- 
tively that  the  land  at  the  left  next  the  bog  was  not  worth  more 
than  from  ten  to  fifteen  shillings  an  acre,  the  latter  being  over 
the  mark  for  the  best  portion  of  it.  I stated  in  a former  letter 
that  the  land  at  the  back  of  the  village  was  good,  and  so  it 
is,  considering,  as  already  remarked,  that  it  was  partly  re- 
claimed by  the  people,  who  made  it  good  land  for  its  parti- 
cular kind.  I never  meant  to  say  that  it  was  land  of  a first- 
rate  quality — what  I meant  was  as  above,  and  I now  repeat  it 
was  good  land.  Mr.  Ryan  valued  it  at  a pound  an  acre,  some 
of  it  might  be  worth  a little  more,  but  the  average  was  a pound, 
allowing  the  tenants  to  live. 

Well,  Mr.  Kenny,  said  Mr.  Ryan,  if  you  built  a house  in  that 
field,  or  suppose  you  got  one  built  for  you,  would  you  under- 
take to  pay  30s.  an  acre  for  it?  I don’t  know,  there  are  the 
tenants  and  they  will  tell  you  all. 

Mr.  Ryan — Row,  don’t  you  know  ’in  your  conscience,  as  an 
honest  man,  it’s  not  worth  10s.  an  acre?  I don’t  know  any- 
thing about  it  ? 

Mr.  Ryan — It’s  not  worth  10s.  yet  it  was  let  at  30s.  and  the 
people  paid,  and  were  willing  to  pay  that  sum  for  it,  but  they 
were  turned  out,  notwithstanding,  and  don’t  you  think  that  a 
great  hardship  ? I don’t  know  anything  about  it,  they  will 
tell  you  all  themselves. 

I asked  Kenny  did  the  people  owe  any  rent  ? They  did  to 
be  sure. 

Mr.  Ryan — But  they  offered  to  pay  it,  did  they  not  ? 


29 


Kenny — If  they  did,  do  you  think  they  would  be  ejected? 

Mr.  Donovan — Did  not  Mick  Connor  offer  to  pay  his  rent, 
and  were  you  not  present  as  well  as  myself  on  that  occasion  ? 
Yes,  I saw  him,  but  I don’t  know  anything  about  it. 

Mr.  Donovan — You  may  be  put  on  your  oath,  perhaps,  about 
this  business  ; so  can’t  you  as  well  oblige  us  by  answering  our 
questions — that  is  anything  you  know  ? 

Kenny — Oh  ! when  I am  on  my  oath,  I’ll  tell  the  truth  then. 

Mr.  Tully — Then  you  are  not  telling  truth  now  ? I don’t 
know  whether  I am  or  not. 

Mr.  Ryan — What  would  you  give,  or  what  would  you  offer 
for  that  land  ? When  I am  going  to  get  it  I know  what  to 
offer  for  it.  I’ll  tell  you  nothing  more  ; they  are  there  them- 
selves, and  let  them  tell  all  about  it. 

I again  asked  him  to  come  with  us,  and  contradict  anything 
they  told  us,  if  not  correct,  and  this  he  promised  to  do,  and 
kept  his  promise. 

The  women  were  asked  if  they  were  able  and  willing  to  pay 
the  rent,  and  if  so,  did  they  offer  it  to  any  person,  and  to  whom  ? 
They  replied  that  they  were  able  and  willing  to  pay  the  rent, 
and  so  were  the  majority  of  the  people  in  the  village,  but  those 
who  were  able  offered  to  pay  for  those  who  were  not,  and  all 
(by  such  means)  offered  to  pay  the  rent  except  one  man. 
(That  was  exactly  what  poor  Rock  told  me.) 

Kenny — Don’t  you  know  as  well  as  I do,  that  you  didn’t  pay 
the  rent  ? Women — Yes,  but  didn’t  we  offer  to  pay  it,  but  it 
wouldn’t  be  taken. 

Kenny — No,  you  didn’t  offer  to  pay  the  rent ; sure  if  you 
did  you  would  not  have  been  turned  out. 

Women — Oh,  Paddy  Kenny,  Paddy  Kenny,  how  can  you 
say  that — were  not  you  present  when  we  offered  the  rent, 
and  it  wouldn’t  be  taken  ? Kenny — Yes  ; but  you  wouldn’t 
give  it  unless  you  got  receipts  for  it. 

Mr.  Tully  observed  that  it  was  quite  natural  for  people  who 
paid  money  for  rent,  or  anything  else,  to  require  a receipt 
for  it. 

Kenny — Yes,  but  they  never  got  receipts  before. 

I asked  him  to  explain  this,  but  he  would  not,  or  could  not, 
when  Mr.  Tully  elucidated  it  as  follows  : 

It  appears  that  the  “ one  man,”  so  often  before  mentioned, 
who  refused  to  pay  the  rent,  had  some  of  his  land  let  to  under- 
tenants. He  went  away,  leaving  some  rent  due  ; the  people 


30 


offered  the  rent  which  they  used  to  pay  this  man  to  the  agent 
of  Mrs.  Gerrard,  and  demanded  receipts,  but  he  would  not 
give  any  receipt  except  one  “ on  account”  of  rent  due.  The 
people  owed  no  rent,  and  therefore  they  refused  to  take  receipts 
on'account.  I shall  give  you  a more  elaborate  history  of  this 
point  hereafter,  hut  at  present  I must  pursue  the  plan  which  I 
laid  down  at  first,  namely,  that  of  going  on  step  by  step,  as  I 
have  proceeded  day  by  day  since  I came  here.  When  Mr. 
Tully  had  ceased  speaking  about  the  receipts, 

Kenny  said — Oh,  aye,  sir,  that  was  the  excuse  they  had,  you 
know,  but  they  didn’t  pay  the  rent  all  the  time. 

Look  (said  one  of  the  widows),  see  how  they  threw  down  the 
house  here  on  my  little  bit  of  manure,  the  only  hope  I had  to 
set  a potatoe. 

Kenny — Well,  and  wasn’t  that  your  own  fault ; didn’t  Mrs. 
Gerrard  offer  to  send  carts  to  carry  away  all  the  dung,  and 
everything  else,  but  you  wouldn’t  take  it  out  ? Yes,  indeed, 
said  the  woman,  a purty  way  it  was  to  offer  carts  to  take  away 
our  bit  of  dung,  when  she  ordered  the  toglier  to  be  cut  across, 
to  prevent  cars,  or  even  ourselves  from  passing. 

No,  she  did’nt,  said  Kenny 

The  road  has  been  cut  across  in  several  places,  said  one  of 
my  friends  ; what  was  it  done  for  ? I don’t  know,  said  Kenny, 
but  it  wasn’t  done  for  that. 

Then,  what  was  it  done  for  ? Kenny — I don’t  know  ; sure 
they  are  there  themselves,  and  they  will  tell  you  all. 

Let  me  observe,  here,  that  the  road  was  not  cut  across  for  the 
purpose  alleged  by  the  widow  women,  and  Kenny  was  quite 
right  in  asserting  it  was  not ; but  I will  tell  you  what  it  was 
cut  for.  There  is  a village  some  distance  to  the  east  of  Bal- 
linlass,  on  the  estate  of  Mr.  Cheevers,  and  the  people  of  this 
village  used  sometimes  to  make  the  togher  through  Ballinlass  a 
short  cut  going  to  Mountbellew,  Galway,  &c. , and  the  road  was 
cut  across  to  prevent  that. 

Here  I must  break  off  for  this  evening,  as  the  post  is  gone, 
and  I must  send  this  to  Koscommon. 


31 


LETTER  IV. 

Roscommon,  Saturday  Night, 

28th  March,  1846. 

I wrote  you  yesterday  from  Ballinamore,  in  Galway ; I have 
since  come  to  this  town.  Without  further  preface  I continue 
my  second  visit  to  Bailinlass.  At  the  point  where  I was  obliged 
to  conclude  my  last  letter,  we  were  joined  by  a poorly  dressed 
man,  but  he  was  clean  and  very  decent  looking — There  now, 
said  Kenny  (the  bailiff),  is  one  more  of  the  tenants,  and  he  will 
tell  you  all  you  want  to  know. 

Were  you  one  of  the  people  who  were  turned  out?  I was, 
sir,  and  there  is  my  poor  old  house,  sticks  and  all. 

What  is  your  name  ? Thady  Kilmartin. 

I now  wish  to  put  a question  to  you,  said  I,  and  give  me  the 
answer  here  in  presence  of  Kenny,  in  order  that  he  may  con- 
tradict you  if  you  don’t  speak  the  truth.  Do  you  know  of 
your  own  knowledge,  of  any  tenant  residing  on  Mrs.  Gerrard’s 
property  who,  either  in  writing  or  by  word  of  mouth,  got  notice 
not  to  let  in  any  person  who  was  turned  out  of  this  village  ? I 
do  not  indeed,  sir. 

Did  you  hear  that  such  an  order  was  given  to  any  one  ? I 
did  not,  indeed,  sir. 

I told  Kenny  I was  very  glad  to  hear  the  man  say  so,  and 
Kenny  said  he  never  heard  of  such  an  order. 

Mr.  Tully — But  where  are  you  living  now  ? At  the  house 
of  my  sister. 

Is  she  a tenant  on  the  estate  of  Mrs.  Gerard  ? She  is,  and  I 
don’t  think  it  likely  such  an  order  would  be  sent  to  her,  for 
they  know  right  well  she  would  not  take  it,  as  she  let  in  my- 
self and  my  family,  or  we  might  starve  and  die  in  the  ditches. 
Such  an  order  might  be  given  but  I never  heard  of  it. 

Kenny  then  asked  me  if  I were  satisfied  that  such  an  order 
was  not  given  ? I told  him  so  far  as  Kilmartin  had  gone  I was 
quite  satisfied  that  he  had  not  heard  either  of  any  person  get- 
ting such  an  order,  or  the  order  itself,  but  that  I was  told  such 
an  order  had  been  given.  He  declared  he  never  heard  of  it. 

Mr.  Ryan  (to  Kenny) — Now  can’t  you  tell  me  if  you  would 
give  30s.  an  acre  for  this  land  ? Kenny — I would  not  give 
30s.  for  it,  but  the  people  who  were  turned  out  gave  it,  and 


32 


they  are  now  looking  for  places  not  as  good,  and  offering  more 
than  that  for  them,  but  you  see  they  can’t  get  any  place  so 
good  as  this  for  any  money. 

Tell  me,  said  Mr.  Tully,  who  owns  all  the  property  about 
here?  Mrs.  Gerrard. 

For  miles  around  asked  Mr.  Donovan?  Yes,  except  where 
the  mearings  run  in. 

How  many  acres  has  she  about  here  ? I don’t  know,  but 
I heard  them  say  about  12  thousand  acres. 

Then,  said  Mr.  Tully,  it  is  not  very  wonderful  why  the  poor 
people  can’t  get  places  about  here. 

I can’t  tell  you,  sir,  said  Kenny,  there  are  worse  landlords 
in  the  county  of  Galway  than  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Gerrard. 

My  good  friend,  Kenny,  said  I,  you  mistake  us.  We  did  not 
say  they  are  bad  landlords. 

I know  you  didn’t  sir. 

Nor  did  one  of  my  friends  ? No  sir,  certainly,  but  maybe 
you  and  them  think  she  is  a bad  landlord,  do  you  sir,  said  the 
fellow  looking  at  me  with  a degree  of  rogueish  interrogating 
simplicity  that  was  positively  provoking. 

I looked  at  the  fellow,  but  perhaps  I have  no  right  to  apply 
a disparaging  epithet  to  him,  as  he  was  obliged  to  do,  as  the 
police  say,  “his  duty.”  I looked  at  the  man  as  did  my  com- 
panions, and  he  shrunk  from  beneath  our  gaze ; one  of  my 
friends  in  the  excitement  of  the  moment  made  use  of  an  ex- 
pression which  I shall  not  record  here,  but  under  the  peculiar 
circumstances  of  the  case  and  the  feelings  by  which  he  was 
actuated,  it  was  perhaps  pardonable. 

There  is  land  let  in  this  county  dearer  than  this  was,  said 
Kenny. 

Where?  asked  Mr.  Tully?  Under  Martin  French,  replied 
Kenny. 

But  does  he  exterminate  the  tenantry  on  his  property? 
I never  heard  he  did. 

Has  he  any  worse  land  than  this  let  at  such  a high  rent  ? 
No,  I don’t  think  he  has,  but  I will  het  you  a pound  that  I show 
you  worse  land  in  the  county?  I don’t  doubt  that. 

Well,  will  you  het  the  pound,  said  Kenny,  with  another 
rogueish  wink  at  me  ? Not  just  now,  Mr.  Kenny,  you  are  too 
well  up  to  these  matters. 

I asked  Kenny  if  he  thought  the  land  was  let  too  high  ? 
That  was  their  own  consarn , said  he,  some  of  them  had  50s.  an 


33 


acre  from  the  under  tenants,  bad  as  the  land  was,  and  she 
(Mrs.  Gerrard)  got  only  30s.  for  it.  Pat  Connally  paid  50s. 
for  it,  and  he  was  one  of  the  under  tenants. 

Mr.  Donovan — And  yet  Mrs.  Gerrard  put  him  out  ? Kenny 
— And  why  not,  when  she  didn’t  get  her  rent. 

Mr.  Tully — But  was  not  the  rent  offered  to  herself  or  her 
agent?  Kenny — I have  nothing  to  do  with  that,  I suppose 
she  can  do  what  she  likes  with  her  own  land. 

Mr  Donovan — Will  she  set  this  land  again?  Kenny — I 

don’t  know  what  her  intentions  may  be  about  that. 

Mr.  Tully — It  will  feed  bullocks  very  well  for  her ; 

Kenny — Well,  and  may  she  not  do  that  if  she  likes,  I suppose  f 

We  were  now  joined  by  a poor  sickly  looking  man.  Dis- 
ease and  want  were  depicted  in  his  face.  His  haggard  look 
and  deep  dejection,  told  that  his  disease  was  both  mental  and 
bodily.  Kenny  said,  here  is  another  of  the  tenants,  and  he 
will  tell  you  all. 

And  of  course  Mr.  Kenny  you  will  listen  to  any  thing  he 
says,  and  contradict  him  if  he  states  a falsehood,  I said. 

Kenny — Of  course  I will,  sir.  you  appear  to  be  a gentleman, 
but  these  other  gentlemen  are  too  hot  for  me. 

Never  mind,  I replied,  I don’t  wonder  at  their  being  excited  at 
this  horrible  sight ; you  appear  to  be  an  intelligent  Galway  man, 
and  is  it  not  a shocking  thing  to  look  on  ? Kenny — I dont  know, 
sure  they  will  tell  you  all  themselves  as  I know  nothing  about  it. 

But  you  can’t  help  looking  at  what  is  before  you  ? Kenny — 
Very  well  sir. 

I then  asked  the  man  who  had  recently  joined  us,  his  name, 
and  he  replied  Mathew  Rock. 

Do  you  live  here  ? The  man  looked  at  me  with  tears  in  his 
eyes,  and  lapping  his  coat — not  an  outside  one — about  his  chest 
and  neck,  and  pointing  to  a prostrate  house,  said — “Hived 
there  before  now , sir.” 

Did  you  owe  any  rent  ? Rock — I did,  sir. 

Were  you  able  to  pay  it  ? Why,  I was,  sir.  I made  a shift 
to  get  the  money. 

Did  you  pay  your  rent,  then  ? No,  sir. 

Why  not  ? Because  it  wouldn’t  be  taken  from  me. 

Why  so  ? I don’t  know,  your  honour. 

When  did  you  offer  to  pay  the  rent  ? I offered  it  every  May 
and  November  for  the  last  five  half  years. 


D 


34 


Did  the  other  tenants  offer  the  rent  also  ? Every  one  of 
them  but  one,  sir. 

The  herd,  Kenny,  here,  says  you  neither  paid  rent,  nor 
offered  to  pay  it;  is  that  true?  No,  sir,  it  is  not,  and  I say 
before  his  face,  we  did  offer  to  pay  the  rent,  every  May  and 
November. 

Is  that  true,  Kenny  ? I don’t  know. 

Rock — You  know  it  is,  and  I say  we  did  offer  to  pay  it. 
Kenny — Sure  if  you  did,  you  would  not  have  been  ejected . 

Don’t  you  know  in  your  heart  and  soul,  said  Rock,  that  we 
offered  the  rent,  and  that  it  would  not  be  taken  ? 

* Kenny— Didn’t  Mr.  Holmes  (the  head  agent  and  attorney 
of  Mrs.  Gerrard,  as  I was  informed)  come  down  here  last 
harvest,-  along  with  Mr.  O’Loughlen  (the  gentleman  who  acted 
as  law-agent  of  the  poor  people),  and  wasn’t  your  crop  going 
to  be  seized  for  the  rent  ? and  didn’t  you  then,  to  save  the  crop, 
make  an  agreement  with  the  gentlemen,  and  sign  your  hands 
to  it  ? Rock — Yes,  we  signed  a paper,  but  we  did  not  know 
what  it  was  about,  as  we  left  it  all  to  our  attorney,  but  they 
turned  it  against  us  after. 

Kenny— What  made  you  sign  it,  then  ? Rock — Because  we 
did  not  know  the  meaning  of  it. 

I asked  him  to  tell  me  when  he  offered  the  last  gale  of  rent  ? 
and  he  replied  in  May  last. 

Kenny — Sure  you  were  processed  for  rent  before  you  signed 
the  consent.  Rock — Yes,  we  signed  the  consent  because  we 
were  fools,  and  did  not  know  what  it  was  for. 


As  none  of  the  people  could  tell  me  anything  about  this 
consent,  I asked  my  friends  to  explain  it,  which  they  did  as 
follows : — you  will  recollect  that  some  of  the  people  paid  rent 
to  others,  and  to  this  I have  already  alluded,  and  that  when 
one  of  these  middle-men  went  away  the  people  offered  to  pay 
the  rent  to  the  owner  of  the  land  but  it  was  refused,  unless  a 
sum  of  £40  alleged  to  be  due  by  Gavin  (that  was  the  man’s 
name)  was  paid  also.  I may  as  well  state  here  the  whole  history 
of  this  part  of  the  case,  and  you  will  perceive  by  the  conversa- 
tion that  followed  that  it  is  correct.  Tom  Gavin  held  land  (I 
could  not  ascertain  the  exact  quantity)  to  the  amount  of  £80 
a year ; he  was  a man,  I am  credibly  informed,  worth  some 
thousands,  and  was  known  in  all  parts  of  Galway  as  ‘ 4 Wealthy 
Tom” — I forget  what  the  Irish  of  the  expression  is.  He  had 


35 


only  one  daughter.  I met  a gentleman  on  whose  veracity  you 
may  rely  for  the  following  curious  fact.  He  met  Tom  one  day 
at  the  market  of  Mount  Belle w,  and  said  to  him,  jokingly, 
Tom,  will  you  give  me  your  daughter  ? Tom  replied  he  would, 
and  welcome.  And  what  fortune  will  you  give  her?  If  she 
likes  you,  said  Tom,  and  consents  to  marry  you,  I’ll  give  you 
three  thousand  guineas,  and  maybe  you  would  not  he 
left  trusting  to  that  when  I’m  dying.  Tom  invited  the  gentle- 
man to  his  house,  and  he  went.  He  gave  me  the  most 
ludicrous  account  I have  ever  heard,  of  the  hut  of  this  miser , 
but  I must  content  myself  by  stating,  that  he  found  a couple  ct 
cows,  a goat,  and  two  pigs,  tied  up  in  the  same  apartment  where 
his  ‘‘intended”  lay  snugly  on  a wad  of  straw  in  the  corner.. 
He  (my  friend)  had  new  top-boots  on  at  the  time,  and  he  took 
them  off  to  get  the  mud  taken  from  them.  Peggy,  herself, 
took  them  under  special  charge,  and  brought  them  back  nicely 
cleaned,  but  apologised  that  she  couldn’t  blacken  the  tops  as 
as  well  as  the  bottoms.  The  fact  was,  added  my  friend,  the 
boots  were  spoiled,  and  I never  wore  them  after.  And  of 
course  you  didn’t  marry  Peg  gy  ? No,  he  replied,  and  for  a 
good  and  very  excellent  reason.  What  was  it?  Simply  this 
— that  Peggy  told  me,  plump  in  my  face,  she  wouldn’t  have 
me  if  I was  twice  as  great  a gentleman ; that  when  I would 
have  the  money  with  her,  that’s  all  I wanted,  and  then  I would 
not  care  a tranheen  about  her ; and  said  she  would  marry  a 
barefooted  boy,  that  would  love  and  like  her,  and  not  a fellow 
like  me  that  wore  such  grand  boots.  I asked  the  gentleman 
seriously  if  Gavin  was  worth  £3,000,  and  he  assured  me  on  his 
honour,  that  he  knew  him  to  be  worth  over  £6,000  at  that 
time  (some  years  ago),  and  that  he  was,  of  course,  worth  more 
now,  as  he  was  a great  miser,  and  put  by  large  sums  of  monfey 
every  year.  This  episodical  departure  from  the  course  of  my 
story,  is  hardly  pardonable,  but  the  story  struck  me,  and,  as 
they  say  in  the  country,  I nearly  died  laughing  at  the  details 
given  by  my  friend,  and  I could  not  deny  myself  the  pleasure 
of  putting  the  fact  very  shortly  on  record,  notwithstanding 
the  grave  subject  on  which  I am  engaged.  But  to  return. 
Gavin  went  away  to  another  part  of  the  county,  where  his 
daughter  had  got  married.  He  left  his  land  at  Ballinlass  to 
the  people,  and  told  them  to  do  what  they  liked  with  it.  It 
was  alleged  that  he  owed  £40,  and  until  this  was  paid,  no  rent 
would  be  taken  from  the  tenants  except  on  “account,”  and  as 


36 


they  owed  nothing,  they  refused  to  take  receipts  on  account. 
It  appears,  then,  I said,  that  this  was  what  gave  rise  to  the  recent 
extermination ; no,  added  my  friend  (authorising  me  to  use 
his  name),  that  was  just  used  as  a pretext  to  get  the  people 
out,  for  Mrs.  Gerrard  and  the  agent  knew  very  well  that  they 
could  recover  £40,  or  as  many  hundreds,  from  Gavin  (if  he 
owed  it)  at  any  time  they  thought  fit.  In  order  to  preserve 
the  thread  of  my  story,  I must  now  necessarily  travel,  as  it 
were,  backward,  and  note  what  took  place  after,  and  the 
continuation  of  the  conversation  with  Kenny  and  the  people. 

I asked,  who  was  Mr.  O’Loughlin,  and  I was  informed  that 
he  was  an  attorney  who  undertook  to  defend  the  ejectments. 

And  were  they  defended  ? Not  at  all. 

Explain  this.  Holmes  and  O’Loughlin  came  down  here ; the 
people  had  been  served,  and  they  were  advised  to  sign  consents 
for  decrees  against  them  ; the  poor  people  did  not  know  what 
they  were  doing,  and  they  signed  the  consent,  and,  at  the  next 
sessions,  the  decrees  were  obtained  behind  their  backs. 

Rock  said  that  was  quite  true,  and  appealed  to  Kenny  if  it 
were  not  so. 

Kenny  met  the  appeal  with  the  never-failing  escape-hole 
answer  of  “ I don’t  know.” 

Come,  said  Rock,  with  a degree  of  manly  indignation — come, 
if  you  be  a man,  and  answer  me  this  : Did  not  you  see  Holmes 
pay  £55  to  O’Loughlin  in  my  presence  ? Kenny  stood  mute 
for  a while,  and,  looking  up  at  the  clouds,  he  said,  I saw  you 
with  them,  but  I don’t  know  what  it  was  about. 

I declare  to  God,  said  Rock,  and  I am  ready  to  swear  it,  I 
saw  Holmes  pay  O’Loughlin  £55  before  my  face,  and,  Paddy 
Kenny,  you  are  the  man  who  was  present  by  at  the  time. 

I asked  what  was  this  money  paid  for  ? and  Rock  replied  for 
costs. 

For  what  costs  ? I don’t  know. 

I will  explain  this  to  you,  said  one  of  my  friends.  The  poor 
people,  when  served  with  the  notices,  were  advised  to  take  de- 
fence ; and  I understand  that  there  was  a legal  defect  in  the 
notices,  on  which  they  would  have  succeeded,  but  I am  not 
certain  of  that,  as  I could  not  get  one.  They  (the  people) 
went  to  Mr.  O’Loughlin,  and  employed  him  to  do  the  business, 
and  he  proceeded  accordingly.  I don’t  know  how  the  consent 
was  managed,  but,  at  all  events,  it  was  obtained.  The  parties 
then  met  at  Mountbellew,  and  the  rent  was  offered  to  the 


37 


agent,  but  lie  would  not  take  it,  as  he  had  the  consent.  The 
costs  incurred,  up  to  this  period  of  the  case,  by  Mr.  O’Logh- 
lin,  amounted  to  £55  : and,  of  course,  Holmes  paid  him,  and 
that  was  the  money  Rock  saw  paid . That’s  the  history  of  that, 
said  my  friend. 

The  fact,  then,  is,  that  the  people  were  regularly  trapped 
into  the  consent?  We  were,  sir,  said  Rock,  for  if  we  thought 
that  any  howlt  would  be  taken  of  us  for  signing  the  paper  to 
turn  us  out,  you  know  we  wouldn’t  have  done  it. 

Do  you  blame  Mr.  O’Loughlin  ? No,  sir,  we  don’t  blame 
him  at  all. 

Mr.  Tully  said,  Mr.  O’Loughlin  was  a high-minded,  honour- 
able, and  honest  man,  and  one  that  would  not  be  guilty  of  any- 
thing disreputable  , and  the  fact  was,  he  (Mr.  Tully)  believed 
that  Mr.  O’Loughlin  had  been  deceived  as  well  as  the  people, 
as  he  had  done  the  best  he  could  for  his  clients,  but  had  been 
deceived  by  the  specious  promises  made  to  him,  but  these  pro- 
mises were  not  kept. 

I asked  Rock  what  took  place  after  that  ? He  said  that 
ejectment  processes  were  brought  against  them,  and  that  Mr. 
Freeman,  the  assistant-barrister,  gave  decrees  on  the  consent. 

Then  the  fact  is,  the  case  was  not  defended  at  the  sessions  at 
all  ? Rock — Not  at  all,  sir  ; sure  we  didn’t  know  anything 
about  it  at  the  time. 

Where  are  you  living  now  ? There  above,  sir. 

On  whose  property  ? On  Mr.  Cheevers’. 

Did  you  hear  of  any  order  given  by  the  bailiffs  to  the  tenants 
of  Mrs.  Gerrard  not  to  let  in  any  of  the  people  who  were 
turned  out  of  this  village  ? I did 

Did  you  go  into  any  of  the  tenants’  houses  ? I did. 

Did  any  one  say  against  you  going  into  these  houses  ? No. 

And  they  gave  you  any  assistance  you  required  ? They  did, 
certainly. 

Now  tell  me,  before  Kenny  here,  if  you  know  of  any  person 
who  was  told  by  the  bailiffs  not  to  let  any  of  you  into  the 
houses,  or  give  you  relief  or  assistance?  Why  John  Hughes 
told  Billy  Gavin  that  he  would  not  let  him  in,  as  he  was  told 
not  to  do  so,  and  that  he  (Gavin)  ought  to  go  into  the  poorhouse. 

Where  does  Hughes  live  ? A good  way  from  this. 

Did  Hughes  say  who  gave  him  the  notice?  Yes,  he  said 
one  of  the  bailiffs,  who  told  him  it  was  her  (Mrs.  Gerrard’s^) 
order,  and  not  to  displease  or  disobey  her.  d 2 


38 


Tell  me  this  now,  and  be  very  particular,  in  order  that 
Kenny  may  hear  your  answer — will  you  bring  me  to  the  house, 

or  show  me  any  person  that  got  such  an  order  ? Rock I can, 

sir,  and  will  get  it  sworn  to. 

Kilmartin  (I  said)  there  never  heard  such  an  order,  nor  was 
he  refused  admission  into  any  house. 

Rock — Well,  sir,  that  maybe,  but  I will  tell  you  now  in  the 
presence  of  Paddy  Kenny,  and  let  him  contradict  me  if  he  can, 
what  I heard  myself. 

Well,  go  on. 

The  week  we  were  turned  out,  I was  sick — very  bad,  I was 
at  the  time,  and  I did  not  think  I would  live.  (The  poor  man 
looked  wretchedly  ill.)  I was  anointed — is  not  that  true,  Paddy 
Kenny  ? Kenny — I certainly  heard  you  were  sick,  but  I did 
not  know  you  were  anointed. 

Rock — I was,  and  every  person  knows  it,  and  if  you  don’t 
believe  me,  I can  get  the  priest  to  tell  it. 

Well,  tell  me  what  you  heard. 

Rock — I heard  Mr.  Holmes  say  to  my  poor  wife,  that  he 
would  never  allow  her  into  any  house  on  the  estate,  that  is  a 
house  for  herself,  but  she  might  go  into  a barn,  or  cow-house, 
until  she  got  a place  off  the  estate. 

You  hear  that,  Kenny  ? I said.  I have  nothing  to  say  to  it, 
he  replied. 

Well,  and  are  you  living  in  a stable,  or  cow-house,  now  ? 
I am,  sir,  and  glad  to  get  one. 

Is  it  on  the  estate  of  Mrs.  Gerrard  ? It  is,  sir,  Mr.  Holmes 
never  said  against  any  one  going  into  a stable,  or  barn,  or 
cow-house,  it  was  only  the  dwelling-houses  he  refused  us. 

Were  you  ill  when  you  were  turned  out?  I was  very  bad. 

What  ailed  you  ? Fever  ; and  I did  not  think  they  would 
throw  down  the  houses.  I thought  all  they  wanted  was  pos- 
session, and  that  we  would  get  into  the  houses  again. 

How  do  you  live  now  ? I mean  how  do  you  support  your- 
self? (Here  let  me  implore  the  attention  of  my  readers  to  the 
man’s  answer.)  “ How  do  Hive,”  said  he,  repeating  my  ques- 
tion, and  giving  such  a look  of  horror  and  despair — such  a 
look — but  no,  description  is  useless,  let  the  reply  be  the  des- 
cription, “ I have  8 persons  in  family,  and  I have  not  8 baskets 
of  potatoes  in  the  world  to  feed  them,  and  they  (the potatoes) 
not  good  either.  I have  not  as  much  as  will  do  them  for  a 
fortnight,  and  I wont  have  a bit  to  eat  on  Easter  Sunday — 


39 


God  help  me,  I don’t  know  what  to  do,  or  where  to  go,”  and 
the  poor  fellow  buried  his  pale  face  in  his  hands  and  sobbed 
loudly.  It  was  truly  affecting  ; my  friends — and  I honour  their 
names  for  it — they  wept  bitterly,  and  even  Kenny  was  affected, 
for  although  he  thought  to  conceal  it,  I saw  tears  in  his  eyes. 


LETTER.  V. 

Roscommon,  Sunday, 

29th  March,  1846. 

In  opening  this  letter  I have  only  to  observe  that  it  is  a con- 
tinuation of  my  last. 

Did  you  (I  asked  Rock)  ever  go  to  Mrs.  Gerrard  yourself 
and  tell  her  your  case  ? 

Rock — We  went  to  the  lodge  with  the  rent  and  asked  to  see 
her.  She  came  out,  but  went  in  immediately.  We  then  asked 
to  see  the  master  (Mr.  Gerrard),  and  he  came  out  and  was 
speaking  to  us  at  the  door,  when  the  mistress  thought  he  was 
stopping  too  long ; and  she  came  out  and  told  him  to  come  in 
out  of  that,  and  not  to  be  annoying  himself  with  us  or  our 
affairs,  and  Paddy  Kenny  knows  that. 

I know  nothing  about  you,  said  Kenny. 

We  asked  Kenny  if  he  knew  how  many  tenants  were  in  the 
land  ? He  said  that  thirty  tenants  took  the  whole  farm  at  first, 
and  brought  their  families  to  the  village. 

I said  that  the  two  widows  (Gavin)  had  stated  that  their 
three  generations  had  lived  there,  and  that  Thady  Rock  said 
he  resided  there  for  over  68  years. 

Kenny  said  perhaps  that  was  true,  as  there  were  under 
tenants  who  lived  there  for  a long  time.  The  thirty  tenants 
(he  said)  who  took  the  land  altogether  at  30s.  an  acre,  about 
17  years  ago,  let  the  undertenants  remain. 

How  many  families  were  in  the  village  altogether  ? Kenny 
— Why  the  30  who  took  it,  and  they  brought  in  about  30  or  40 
more,  including  undertenants  and  all. 

By  this  time  Mr.  Ryan  had  finished  his  sketch,  and  as  the 
day  was  advancing  we  prepared  to  depart. 

The  people  came  with  us  to  the  road,  and  gave  us  their 
blessing  as  we  bid  a final  farewell  for  the  present  to  the  Gerrard- 
ised  village  of  Ballinlass. 

The  word  “ Gerrardised ,”  in  the  last  sentence,  has  been 


40 


substituted  down  here  for  the  well-known  and  common-place 
word,  exterminated,  and  perhaps  it  will  answer  the  purpose 
just  as  well,  or  better,  as  the  people  know  the  idea  much  easier 
by  the  former  than  the  latter  name,  the  only  difficulty  being 
that  the  substitution  will  not  be  found  in  a quarto  volume  of 
Johnson’s  dictionary. 

When  we  were  preparing  to  leave  the  village  we  learned 
that  Mr.  Holmes,  Mr.  Gerrard’s  law  agent,  was  coming  post 
from  Galway,  and  was  expected  every  moment  to  a house  some 
distance  off.  I was  much  pleased  at  this  piece  of  information, 
as  I imagined  an  opportunity  would  be  afforded  me  of  having 
a conversation  with  Mr.  Holmes,  which  I very  much  desired. 
We  waited  a considerable  time  on  the  road  that  Mr.  Holmes 
should  pass,  but ffie  did  not  arrive;  so,  having  a long  road 
before  us,  and  the  day  waxing  late,  we  departed. 

I will  here  mention  to  you  a statement  that  I have  heard, 
made  upon  every  side  of  me.  The  matter  as  it  is  told  by  pub- 
lic rumour,  is  certainly  not  true ; I mention  it  to  you  to  show 
the  degree  of  irritation  and  excitement  that  is  abroad  through 
the  country — the  result  of  this  deplorable  extermination.  It 
is  commonly  stated  and  believed  that  Mrs.  Gerrard,  on  being 
saluted  by  some  person,  and  asked  how  she  did,  replied — 
“ Thank  you,  I am  well,  thriving,  and  getting  fat  on  the 
curses  of  the  wretches .”  I heard  this  on  sufficiently  good  au- 
thority to  make  it  well  worth  my  while  to  inquire  into  its 
truth.  It  is  firmly  believed  anong  the  country  people.  I 
satisfied  myself,  however,  that  Mrs.  Gerrard  never  used  such 
an  expression,  and  that  she  is  a lady  of  such  habits  and  m an- 
ners  that  a phrase  so  coarse — not  to  speak  of  its  inhumanity — 
could  not  possibly  have  fallen  from  her.  I proceeded  to  trace 
the  foundation  of  this  statement;  and  I heard  upon  high 
authority  that  Mr.  Gerrard,  in  reply  to  some  persons  who 
made  some  allusion  to  the  exasperation  existing  among  the 
people  in  consequence  of  the  clearances  he  had  made  from  time 
o time,  answered  that  his  bullocks  were  fattening  on  the  lands 
and  thriving  on  the  curses  of  the  wretches.  Of  course  I do 
not  vouch  for  this.  Though  I heard  it  on  most  respectable 
authority,  I cannot  believe  it ; but  the  worse  rumour  is  fully 
believed  among  the  country  people.  I mention  this  circum- 
stances to  show  you  the  terrible  feeling  of  hostility  that  these 
clearances  give  rise  to  between  landlord  land  tenant,  and  how 
much  evil  these  parties  are  ready  to  believe  of  one  another. 


41 


LETTER  VI. 


Roscommon  Monday. 

I now  resume.  On  arriving  at  Bally  gar  in  the  evening,  we 
met  the  professional  gentleman — Mrs.  Gerrard’s  relation — 
whom  I made  mention  of  in  a former  letter,  to  which  I refer 
your  readers  in  order  to  keep  up  the  chain  of  this  history. 
After  some  general  conversation,  I was  asked  if  I saw  the 
place  where  she  turned  out  the  friars  at  Tougheragara  ? I 
replied  in  the  affirmative,  and  said  as  it  was  a somewhat  stale 
transaction  I did  not  intend  to  notice  it. 

You  ought  then,  said  Mr. , for  she  whacked  the  poor  old 

priests  out  of  it,  and  left  nothing  standing  but  the  little  chapel 
— I suppose  she  was  afraid  or  ashamed  to  touch  that ; there  is 
a poor  old  priest  there  and  you  would  pity  him.  (The  speaker 
is  a protestant,  and  of  high  Conservative  principles,  and  a 
most  respectable  gentleman.) 

I asked  him  if  he  had  any  quarrel  with  his  relation , and  I 
did  so  with  the  intention  of  ascertaining  if  he  were  swayed  by 
prejudice  against  her.  His  reply  was  we  never  had  a quarrel, 
I am  one  of  her  heirs,  but  I don’t  know  whether  she  will  leave 
me  anything  or  not.  I don’t  care  for  that,  as  I never  liked 
her,  because  she  was  such  an  exterminator,  still  I must  say 
she  is  a lady  in  manners — she  is  most  accomplished  and  polite. 
There  was  a general  reply  of  “ I dare  say.” 

We  walked  about  the  town  to  see  the  market,  and  were  fol- 
lowed by  a large  crowd  of  people,  who  gazed,  (my  friends  were 
all  well-known  to  the  people),  pointed  at,  and  spoke  about  me 
(all  in  Irish),  as  the  “ government  man,”  until  I felt  actually 
ashamed.  A very  large  landed  proprietor — one  of  the  largest 
in  the  county — sent  a professional  friend  of  his  to  the  house 
of  a gentleman  where  I had  visited  at  Ballygar,  to  ascertain 
“if  I really  were  a government  commissioner,  and  what 
brought  me  down  ? And  if  I were  not  a commissioner,  to  find 
out  who  and  what  I was,  for  he  had  heard  a great  deal  about 
me,  and  was  anxious  to  know  it  all.”  The  gentleman  to  whom 
this  application  was  made,  in  order  to  have  a joke,  mystified 
the  occasion  of  my  appearance  very  much,  and  this  set  the 
whole  country  on  the  qui  vive , and  every  person  formed  their 
own  opinion,  and  I need  hardly  tell  you  with  what  alacrity 


42 


they  magnified  me  into  “the  great  man.”  Here  a very 
respectable-looking  and  well-dressed  female,  about  thirty-two 
years  of  age,  addressed  us.  Mr.  Tully  knew  her,  and  she 
said  her  husband  was  dead,  and  was  brother  to  an  attorney  in 
Dublin.  I live  in  Crow  Village,  said  she,  and  we  have  been 
all  served  with  notices  to  quit.  I don’t  know  what  we  will  do. 
(This  is  one  of  the  villages  mentioned  already.) 

Have  you  got  one  of  the  notices  ? Yes,  said  the  woman  and 
she  handed  us  the  following  notice. 

COUNTY  OF  GALWAY,  ^ John  Loveland  complains 

to  wit.  > of  John  Thrustout,  in  the  custody 

) of  the  Marshal  of  the  Marshalsea 

of  our  Sovereign  Lady  the  Queen,  before  the  Queen  herself, 
being  of  a Plea  of  Tresspass  and  Ejectment  of  a Farm,  for 
that  WHEREAS  John  Netterville  Gerrard,  Esquire,  and 
Marcella  Netterville  Gerrard,  his  wife,  on  the  thirteenth  day 
of  March  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  eight  hundred 
and  forty-six,  at  Tuam,  in  said  County,  had  demised,  granted, 
and  to  Farm- set  unto  the  said  John  Loveland,  ALL  THAT 
AND  THOSE  that  part  of  the  Lands  under  the  denomination 
of  Crow  Village,  as  now,  or  at  any  time  heretofore  in  the 
possession  of  Celia  Connor  and  Mary  Mahon,  otherwise  Carr, 
or  either  of  them,  all  which  said  Lands  and  Premises  are 
situate,  lying  and  being  in  the  Barony  of  Killyan,  and  County 
of  Galway  aforesaid : TO  HAVE  AND  TO  HOLD  all  and 
singular  the  said  demised  Premises,  with  the  Appurtances,  to 
the  said  John  Loveland,  his  executors,  Administrators  and 
assigns,  from  the  said  thirteenth  day  of  March  in  the  year  of 
our  Lord  aforesaid,  for  and  during  the  term,  time  and  space 
of  Twenty-one  years  next  ensuing,  and  from  thenceforth  fully 
to  be  completed  and  ended.  And  also  for  that  WHEREAS 
John  Gerrard,  Esquire,  and  Marcella  Gerrard,  otherwise 
Netterville,  his  wife,  on  the  thirteenth  day  of  March  in  the 
^ear  of  our  Lord  aforesaid,  at  Tuam  aforesaid,  in  the  said 
County  of  Galway,  had  demised,  granted  and  to  Farm-set 
unto  the  said  John  Loveland,  the  said  Premises  with  the 
Appurtenances  : TO  HAVE  AND  TO  HOLD  all  and  singular 
the  said  demised  Premises,  with  the  Appurtenances,  to  the 
said  John  Loveland,  his  Executors,  Administrators  and  Assigns, 
from  the  said  thirteenth  day  of  March  in  the  year  of  our  Lord 
aforesaid,  for  and  during  the  term,  time  and  space  of  twenty- 
one  years  next  ensuing,  and  from  thenceforth  fully  to  be 
completed  and  ended.  And  also  for  that  WHEREAS  The 
Right  Honorable  Arthur  James,  Earl  of  Fingal,  on  the  thir- 
teenth day  of  March  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  aforesaid,  at 
Tuam  aforesaid,  in  the  said  County  of  Galway,  had  demised, 
granted  and  to  Farm-set  unto  the  said  John  Loveland,  the 
said  Premises,  with  the  Appurtenances:  to  have  and 


43 


to  hold  all  and  singular  the  said  demised  Premises,  with 
the  appurtenances,  to  the  said  John  Loveland,  his  executors, 
administrators  and  assigns,  from  the  said  thirteenth  day  of 
March,  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  aforesaid,  for  and  during  the 
term,  time  and  space  of  Twenty-one  years  next  ensuing,  and 
from  thenceforth  fully  to  be  completed  and  ended.  And  also 
for  that  WHEREAS  Marcella  Gerrard,  otherwise  Netterville, 
commonly  called  Marcella  Netterville  Gerrard,  on  the  thirteenth 
day  of  March  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  aforesaid,  at  Tuam  afore- 
said, in  the  County  of  Galway,  had  demised,  granted  and  to 
Farm-set  unto  the  said  John  Loveland,  the  said  Premises,  with 
the  Appurtenances:  TO  HAVE  AND  TO  HOLD  all  and 
singular  the  said  demised  Premises,  with  the  Appurtenances, 
to  the  said  John  Loveland,  his  Executors,  Administrators  and 
Assigns,  from  the  said  thirteenth  day  of  March  in  the  year  of 
©ur  Lord  aforesaid,  for  and  during  the  term,  time  and  space  of 
Twenty-one  years  next  ensuing,  and  from  thenceforth  fully  to  be 
completed  and  ended.  By  virtue  of  which  said  several  demises, 
the  aforesaid  John  Loveland,  to  wit,  on  the  said  thirteenth  day 
of  March  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  aforesaid,  entered  into  the  said 
demised  Premises,  and  was  thereof  possessed,  until  he  the  said 
John  Thrustout  afterwards,  to  wit  on  the  thirteenth  day  of  March 
in  the  year  of  our  Lord  aforesaid,  entered  with  Force  and  Arms 
and  soforth,  into  the  said  demised  Premises,  with  the  Appur- 
tenances, in  and  upon  the  peaceable  possession  of  the  said  John 
Loveland,  ejected,  drove  out  and  removed  him  the  said  John 
Loveland,  from  the  possession  of  his  said  Farm  (his  said  Term 
therein  not  being  then  expired)  and  the  said  John  Loveland 
being  so  ejected,  drove  out  and  removed  from  his  possession 
thereof,  withheld,  and  still  doth  withhold,  and  then  and  there 
brought  other  injuries  upon  him,  against  the  peace  of  our  said 
now  Lady  the  Queen,  and  to  the  damage  of  the  said  John  Love- 
land of  one  hundred  pounds  sterling,  and  thereupon  the  said 
John  Loveland  brings  his  suit  and  soforth. 

As  of  Hilary  Term,  in  the  ninth  Year  of  the  Reign  of  her 
Majesty  Queen  Victoria,  and  soforth,  and  in  the  Year  of  our 
Lord  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  forty-six. 

Pledges  to  prosecute,  John  Galway,  Attorney,  11,  Summer- 
hill,  Dublin,  John  Doe  and  Richard  Roe,  John  G.  Holmes. 

SlRt 

You  may  understand  by  the  above  Declaration  that  I am 
sued  as  casual  Ejector  in  her  Majesty’s  Court  of  Queen’s  Bench 
in  Ireland,  as  of  last  Hilary  Term,  for  the  Lands  and  Tene- 
ments above  mentioned,  whereunto  I have  no  claim : these  are 
therefore  to  desire  you  to  retain  an  Attorney  of  the  same  Court 
to  appear  for  you  next  Easter  term,  and  defend  your  title  to 
the  Premises,  (if  any  you  have),  otherwise  I will  suffer  Judg- 
ment to  pass  against  me  by  default,  and  then  you  will  be  turned 
out  of  possession. 

I am  your  Friend,  John  Thrustout. 


44 


To  the  tenant  in  possession,  and  all  others  concerned. 

J ohn  Galway,  Attorney  for  the  Plaintiff  and  his  Lessors, 
Number  Eleven,  Summer-hill,  Dublin. 

We  saw  several  of  the  inhabitants  of  this  village,  all  of  whom 
were  similarly  circumstanced.  They  were  in  the  greatest  con- 
sternation, and  as  they  themselves  said,  knew  not  what  to  do. 

I then  waited  on  Dr.  French,  the  Medical  Superintendent 
of  the  Dispensary,  who  stated  he  wished  to  mention  a fact  in 
connexion  with  the  eviction.  He  said  about  ten  or  twelve  days 
before  that  day  (Thursday),  a person  named  John  Clarke, 
who  was  turned  out  of  the  village,  came  to  Ballygar ; he  was 
sick  with  with  fever  at  the  time,  and  it  was  communicated  to 
a child  who  is  now  lying  ill  of  the  same  malady ; the  man, 
after  getting  a little  better,  went  to  the  house  of  his  sister 
where  two  of  the  inhabitants  caught  the  fever  and  are  now 
lying  ill,  and  he  (Dr.  French)  very  much  feared  it  would 
spread  with  rapidity  through  the  country,  if  means  were  not 
taken  to  arrest  its  progress.  The  fever  (added  the  Doctor), 
was  not  so  contagious  for  the  last  three  years  as  at  present,  and 
he  feared  the  consequences  very  much. 

Of  course  Doctor,  you  don’t  know  how  the  fever  originated  ? 
Dr.  French — oh,  yes,  it  was  in  the  village  at  the  time  the 
people  were  evicted. 

I asked  this  gentleman  if  he  thought  that  fact  were  known 
to  the  lady  and  her  husband,  at  the  time  the  eviction  took 
place?  He  could  not  tell,  but  it  was  well  known  that  fever 
was  in  the  village  at  the  time. 

I told  Dr.  French  I would  take  a note  of  our  conversation, 
and  he  said  sir,  most  willingly.  Mrs.  Gerrard  is  an  acquain- 
tance of  mine,  but  I would  not  on  that  account  conceal  any 
thing  coming  within  my  knowledge  in  reference  to  this  case. 

The  following,  I dare  say  will  be  read  with  some  interest. 
I honour  the  young  English  officer  for  his  manly  spirit  and 
for  the  sympathy  he  exhibited,  but  the  fact  speaks  more  than 
any  praise  I could  bestow  on  it.  Speaking  of  the  scene  that 
took  place  on  the  13th,  an  officer  stationed  with  a detachment 
of  military  at  Ballygar,  who  with  his  company  were  obliged 
to  attend  on  the  Sheriff  at  the  eviction,  said : “it  was  horrible 
to  see  the  poor  devils  surely — they  offered  us  the  money,  but 
we  could  not  take  it.  When  the  people  had  collected  in  the 

fields  behind  the  houses,  did  you  mind  the  d d rascals  how 

ordered  us  to  charge  if  the  (the  people)  did  not  go  off,  but  no, 


45 


we  spurned  the  d d rascals — we  charge  the  people ! not  we.” 

This  gentleman  also  gave  one  of  the  poor  widows  who  suffered 
half-a-crown  to  get  her  dinner.  You  may  rely  on  these  facts. 

Mr. (the  lady’s  relative)  said  to  me,  if  the  Times  Com- 

missioner had  come  down  here,  he  might  have  had  something 
to  do  instead  of  going  to  Darrynane  ; for  if  the  people  were 
badly  off  there,  they  were  not  hunted  out  of  their  houses.  I 
think,  sir,  he  continued,  that  some  good  ought  to  come  of  this 
case,  when  laid  before  the  public,  by  your  means.  It  is  a hor- 
rible thing  to  see  a country  thus  laid  waste  of  inhabitants,  and 
to  turn  the  land  which  was  destined  for  the  support  of  the 
people  into  bullock  walks  ; you  have  seen  enough  yourself  of 
that ; I trust  the  legislature  will  now  see  the  necessity  of  adop- 
ting some  measure  to  secure  the  unfortunate  tenantry,  for  it  is 
almost  beyond  human  nature  to  bear  up  against  acts  of  this 
description  ; we  hear  a great  deal  about  assassinations,  &c., 
but,  in  order  to  cure  the  evil,  the  disease  should  be  ascertained. 
Is  it  any  wonder  that  we  hear  of  murders  ? We  have  enough 
of  them — but  we  seldom  hear  of  wholesale  manslaughter  such  as 
the  present,  perpetrated  by  the  peasantry.  However,  I trust 
that,  through  your  publicity  of  this  case — and  the  country 
should  feel  grateful  to  the  establishment  to  which  you  belong, 
for  having  sent  you  here — that  something  will  be  done  by  Par- 
liament to  remedy  such  evils. 

The  above  sentiments  do  honour  to  the  head  and  heart  of  the 
speaker. 

I am  coming  now  to  a close,  so  far  as  the  facts  of  this  most 
melancholy  case,  but  I shall  occupy  another  letter  summing  up 
all,  and  giving  a general  review  and  outline  of  the  whole  mat- 
ter. I don’t  think  this  would  be  an  appropriate  place  to  do  so, 
as,  up  to  the  present  moment,  I have  confined  myself  solely  to 
the  facts  and  conversations  ; still  I may  be  able  to  give  some 
interesting  information  and  particulars  that  did  not  come  under 
any  particular  class  or  head  already  enumerated  in  my  former 
letters . 

Perhaps  it  is  unnecessary  for  me  to  say  that,  during  this  to 
me  painful  enquiry,  I have  had  one,  and  only  one,  object  in 
view — the  elucidation  of  the  truth.  I was  not  prejudiced  one 
way  or  the  other,  and  I speak  sincerely  when  I say  that  I have 
“ nothing  extenuated,  nor  set  down  aught  in  malice.”  I have 
given  my  authors — they  would  not  deceive  me — I have  endea- 
voured to  describe  what  I beheld,  and  my  eyes  could  not  de- 


46 


ceive.  It  is  only  just  to  say,  that  I did  not  meet  any  of  the 
remaining  Gerrard  tenantry  who  actually  were  forbidden  to  al- 
low the  people  into  their  houses,  or  to  afford  them  assistance  ; 
you  have  the  evidence  on  this  point  at  both  sides — let  the  pub- 
lic decide.  I should  be  wanting  in  gratitude  were  I to  omit 
making  honourable  mention  of  the  names  of  the  gentlemen 
already  before  you,  whose  assistance  was  most  invaluable 
to  me.  I shall  always  entertain  the  highest  respect  for 
the  noble  and  generous-hearted  people  of  this  much  reviled 
and  persecuted  country. 

I cannot  close  without  stating  that  the  clergy  of  the  neigh- 
bourhood, Mr.  Donovan,  and  other  gentlemen  are  entitled  to 
great  praise,  for  I have  it  on  the  authority  of  an  officer,  that 
their  exertions  perhaps  prevented  bloodshed.  The  people 
remained  most  tranquil,  and  have  since  their  eviction.  The 
following  beautiful  lines  of  our  own  immortal  poet,  Goldsmith, 
are  realized  here — one  would  almost  think  he  looked  on  the 
wreck  of  Ballinlass — 

“ Princes  and  lords  may  flourish  or  may  fade, 

A breath  can  make  them  as  a breath  has  made ; 

But  a bold  peasantry,  their  country’s  pride, 

When  once  destroyed  can  never  be  supplied.” 


LETTER  VII. 

Roscommon,  Tuesday. 

In  this,  my  concluding  letter,  on  the'subject  of  the  unfortu- 
nate tenantry  of  Mrs.  Gerrard,  I have  little  to  add  to  my 
former  letters,  so  far  as  facts  are  concerned : but  I cannot  close 
this  matter  without  taking  a brief  review  of  the  case,  therefore 
I have  most  studiously  abstained  from  offering  one  word  of 
comment — it  was  not  my  province  to  do  so.  I did  not  indulge 
in  any  remark  calculated  to  hurt  the  feelings  of  any  person  or 
party,  nor  did  I write  one  syllable  of  what  I heard,  without 
evidence  of  the  clearest  and  most  incontrovertible  character, 
to  sustain  what  I have  advanced.  I was  deputed  by  you  to 
execute  a special  commission,  and  I trust  I have  performed 
that  duty,  if  not  with  ability,  at  least  with  truthful  impartiality. 
I have  not  given  credence  to  anything,  unless  what  appeared 
to  me  the  most  convincing,  and  capable  of  being  sustained  by 


47 


evidence.  In  this  respect  I can  safely  say,  that  no  impulse 
of  feeling,  no  matter  how  strongly  I may  have  felt  on  certain 
points,  has  caused  me  to  deviate  either  to  the  right  or  left.  I feel 
this  explanation  the  more  incumbent  on  me,  as  no  doubt  what 
I have  written  will  be  noticed  in  other  places  besides  this 
journal,  to  which  I have  the  high  honour  and  privilege  of 
being  attached.  Had  I set  down  all  I heard,  I could  have 
filled  a volume  with,  perhaps,  idle,  but  readable  stories. 
That  was  not  my  province,  nor  was  it  your  intention ; and, 
acting  up  to  this  principle,  I have  endeavoured  to  steer  my 
course  through  the  shoals  of  difficulties  by  which  I was  sur- 
rounded. Let  me  also  observe,  that  you  have  the  thanks  of 
every  person  here  for  being  the  first  journal  to  call  public 
attention — at  least  so  far  as  details  are  concerned — to  the 
“clearance”  system  in  this  county.  It  is  but  right  to  say 
that  the  majority  of  landlords  in  this  part  of  the  country 
deprecate,  in  strong  terms,  the  conduct  of  persons  who  indulge 
in  this  wholesale  extermination  of  their  tenantry  without  cause 
or  complaint,  and  many  of  them — I have  it  on  the  most  un- 
questionable authority — have  expressed  their  astonishment 
how  the  system  has  so  long  prevailed  here  without  incurring, 
at  least,  exposure  through  the  newspapers.  After  all,  the 
publication  of  facts,  through  the  medium  of  the  press,  is  a 
great  corrector  of  abuses,  particularly  in  instances  of  the 
present  description.  Perhaps  the  following  may  serve  to  cor- 
roborate this  axiom.  A gentleman,  whose  name  and  residence 
I have  in  my  note-book,  had  some  short  time  since  evicted 
certain  tenants,  under  nearly  similar  circumstances  with  those 
on  the  Gerrard  estate.  Having  heard  that  a person  was  in  the 
county  taking  notes  for  your  journal,  he  sent  for  the  people 
who  were  dispossessed,  and  asked  them  were  they  ready  to 
pay  their  rents  ? the  answer  was  in  the  affirmative.  The  ques„ 
tion  had  never  been  asked  them  before.  He  then  told  the 
people  that  they  might  return  to  their  places,  which  it  is  almost 
needless  to  add,  they  did  with  pleasure  and  thankfulness.  The 
reason  for  this,  and  you  may  depend  on  the  accuracy  of  my 
statement,  was,  as  the  gentleman  himself  expressed  it,  that 
it  was  likely  the  circumstance  would  come  under  my  notice, 
(so  it  did)  and  that  he  would  not  for  thousands  be  classed 
among  exterminating  landlords.  Whether  his  intentions  were 
good  or  otherwise — whether  he  was  afraid  of  publicity  or 
not,  it  matters  little ; he  has  acted  fairly,  and  no  matter  under 


48 


what  influence  a person  acts  when  he  performs  a good  action, 
the  result  to  the  party  receiving  the  benefit  is  the  same  ; 
although  the  donor’s  intention  be  ever  so  foreign  to  the  imme- 
diate action  which  he  has  performed.  These  remarks,  however 
crudely  thrown  together,  have  forced  themselves  on  my  mind, 
and  no  matter  how  inadequate  I may  be  to  the  task  of  true 
delineation,  I flatter  myself  that  I cannot  be  charged  with 
0 mendacious  assertion.  There  is  no  use  in  my  dwelling  on  this 

; subject,  as  I shall  have  occasion  hereafter  to  be  more  elaborate, 

intending  as  I do  to  give  you  a brief  history  of  Molly 
Maguireism — its  origin  and  progress  in  Roscommon  and  Galway, 
and  I have  no  doubt  that  I shall  be  able  to  show  that  the  people 
have  been  forced  into  this  by  the  persecution  of  the  landlords. 
But  of  this  anon. 

We  asked  some  of  the  poor  people  what  was  the  matter  with 
the  herds  ? and  they  replied  Mr.  Holmes  was  coming  post  from 
**  Galway,  and  they  were  going  to  meet  that  gentleman,  as  he 

would  be  down  in  a short  time.  I was  much  pleased  at  this  piece 
of  information,  as  I imagined  an  opportunity  would  be  afforded 
me  of  having  a conversation  with  Mr.  Holmes,  which  I very 
much  desired.  We  loitered  about  the  place  for  some  time,  but 
no  carriage  appeared.  We  went  on  and  called  our  driver.  He 
told  us  that  great  preparations  were  being  made  for  the  recep- 
tion of  Mr.  Holmes  (not  at  the  house  where  he  had  been,  but  at 
another)  and  that  a servant  girl  had  been  to  the  house  to  pro- 
cure “ white  bread”  for  him,  as  there  was  no  place  else  in  the 
neighbourhood  that  such  an  article  could  be  procured — (there 
were  plenty  of  rotten  potatoes  about  the  place).  We  still 
waited  a considerable  time,  but  Mr.  Holmes  did  not  arrive,  and 
we  departed,  having  a long  road  before  us  and  the  day,  waxing 
late  ; we  passed  several  houses  on  the  road  side,  built  by  Mrs. 
Gerrard  for  her  herdsmen  ; they  are  neat,  slated  houses,  and 
exteriorly  presented  a very  comfortable  appearance  ; I told  the 
man  to  stop  at  one,  and  we  all  went  in.  Of  course  I expected 
to  find  the  interior  correspond  with  the  outside,  but  I was  never 
more  disappointed  ; it  was  lofted,  no  doubt,  but  such  squalid 
misery  I have  never  before  witnessed  in  the  cabin  of  the  poorest 
peasant,  and  I have  seen  hundreds  of  thousands  of  such  ; there 
were  two  women  (one  very  old)  and  three  children  in  the  house ; 
there  were  a few  turf  embers  on  the  hearth,  and  the  youngest 
child  in  the  place  was  huddled  up  in  the  chimney  corner,  eating 
some  potatoes  out  of  the  ashes  ; the  woman  of  the  house  was 


49 


knitting,  and,  on  our  entrance,  she  arose  and  wiped  one  of  the 
chairs  with  her  apron,  and  invited  me  in  Irish  to  take  an  air 
of  the  fire  ; there  were  only  two  chairs,  a dresser,  two  boxes, 
and  two  small  stools  in  the  place  ; there  was  a room  off  the 
kitchen,  but  I did  not  see  what  it  contained  : there  was  a heap 
of  half-decomposed  straw  in  the  corner,  covered  with  an  old 
cloth,  and  'resembling  a bed ; I asked  what  it  was,  and  the 
woman  said  the  pig  lay  there.  When  we  left,  I remarked  that 
it  was  a very  wretched  house  inside,  compared  to  the  outside  : ^ 
it’s  more  for  ornament  than  use,  replied  one  of  my  companions, 
they  are  all  just  the  same — got  up  to  make  a show — and  the 
poor  creatures  who  live  in  them  are  glad  to  get  any  place  for 
shelter.  The  interior  of  these  herds’  houses,  continued  my 
friend,  is  far  worse  than  was  those  of  the  “ Gerrardised ” 
village.  We  met  three  Roman  Catholic  clergymen  at  the 
bridge  of  Newtown-Gerrard  (whilom  Newbridge)  ; one  of  these 
gentlemen  I had  the  honour  of  a previous  introduction  to,  and 
he  presented  me,  as  did  also  Mr.  Tully,  to  the  other  two  1 ' 

was  most  cordially  received,  and  invited  to  their  houses,  but  I 
could  not  accept  of  their  kindness.  One  of  them  informed  me 
that  Dr.  French,  a medical  gentleman  who  resides  at  Ballygar, 
had  been  enquiring  for,  and  wished  to  see  me,  as  he  had  some- 
thing to  mention  in  connection  with  the  late  eviction.  I 
subsequently  had  the  pleasure  of  visiting  the  Doctor,  at  his 
house.  Up  to  this  time  I have  confined  myself  strictly  to  facts 
connected  with  the  recent  affair,  but  I cannot  help  mentioning 
incidentally  here  what  occurred  at  Mount-Gerrard  in  1841. 
This  had  been  at  one  period  a rising  village  ; a person  named 
Connor,  a man  worth  some  two  thousand  pounds,  kept  a shop 
here,  but  having  displeased  Mrs.  Gerrard,  she  gave  him  notice 
to  quit ; he  offered  her  any  amount  of  money  not  to  dispossess 
him,  but  it  was  refused,  and  on  an  appointed  day,  the  sheriff  and 
bailiffs  came  and  demanded  possession.  Connor’s  father  lay  ill 
of  fever  in  the  house  ; he  was  carried  out  and  laid  on  a bed  on 
the  road,  and  died  in  three  days  after.  This  I have  on  the  au- 
thority of  the  three  respectable  gentlemen  whom  I met  here, 
and  a man  named  Nowlan,  who  saw  old  Connor  taken  out  and 
laid  on  the  road.  Nowlan  himself  lived  a few  perches  from  the 
place,  and  showed  me  the  ruins  of  a house  that  had  the  ap- 
pearance of  being  at  one  period  very  comfortable.  There  was 
my  house,  said  he,  looking  on  it  with  a sigh.  I asked  him,  in 
presence  of  the  clergymen,  what  he  was  evicted  for,  and  he 


50 


said  he  knew  not  the  reason  no  more  than  I did.  Did  you  owe 
rent  ? Not  a penny  ; I was  always  well  able  to  pay.  How 
many  acres  had  you  ? Twenty- two.  Well,  how  have  you 
lived  since  ? I had  saved  a trifle  by  industry,  and  by  that, 
and  my  day’s  work,  I have  supported  my  family  ever  since, 
but  my  means  are  almost  gone  now.  The  man  departed  from 
us  after  this  conversation,  and  we  turned  to  proceed  upon  our 
way.  The  people  followed  us  to  the  road,  and  gave  us  their 
blessing,  as  we  bid  a final  and  a melancholy  farewell  to  the 
“ Gerrardised ” village  of  Ballinlass. 

I now  conclude  this  series  of  papers.  I have  endeavoured 
to  afford  a perfect  transcript  of  facts  as  they  impressed  them- 
selves upon  me,  and  of  incidents  as  they  were  presented  to  my 
observation.  I trust  I have  not,  in  this  purpose,  entirely 
failed;  but,  on  the  contrary,  that  I shall  have  succeeded  in 
transferring  to  the  public  mind  some  portion  of  the  feelings 
which  imbue  my  own.  Should  I attain  this  happy  consumma- 
tion of  my  wishes,  the  tenant-occupiers  of  the  soil  of  Ireland 
shall  not  long  be  subject  to  the  wasting  evils  of  extermination. 


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